Online privacy has never been so important. Threats from spyware, ransomware, cybercriminals in general, hostile state players – the list goes on and on. One of the first tools to protect privacy has been agreed as a good, reliable and reputable VPN.
This has been shattered by a report from restoreprivacy.com that alleges that some of the leading VPN providers have been snapped up by a company that used to distribute malware and adware.
Kape Technologies was known as Crossrider. This was its modus operandi: Crossrider offers a highly configurable method for its clients to monetize their software. The common method to infect end-users is software bundlers. The installers usually resort to browser hijacking. Targeted browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and sometimes Opera. Crossrider not only targets Windows machines but Macs as well. PUP.Optional.Crossrider installs are typically triggered by bundlers that offer software you might be interested in and combine them with adware or other monetizing methods.
Kape changed its name from Crossrider in 2018 to distance itself from its past, nefarious activities. This was following the company’s purchase of CyberghostVPN. Further acquisitions include Zenmate, Private Internet Access and, more recently, ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN has always been touted as possibly the leading VPN provider. Interestingly, ExpressVPN’s CIO, Daniel Gericke, also has ties to state surveillance activities. According to Reuters, Gericke and two others, “admitted to violating U.S. hacking laws and prohibitions on selling sensitive military technology” to the United Arab Emirates. According to reports, this “sensitive military technology” helped the UAE spy on dissidents and human rights activists. Not the sort of pedigree you want to protect your privacy.
But Kape did not stop there. It went on to buy VPN review sites such as vpnMentor and Wisecase under a shadow company called Webselenese. Interestingly, if you go to vpnMentor, the three top VPN providers are, surprise surprise, ExpressVPN, Cyberghost and Private Internet Access. No shit, Sherlock!
No doubt Kape will continue its expansion in the VPN and cybersecurity field. Maybe if you use one of these tainted companies you will want to consider your options. At the moment, Surfshark, NordVPN and ProtonVPN are the only VPN providers I could recommend, but for how long?