While cyber security is certainly a concern for them, most VPN users aren't exactly adept when it comes to information technology. Like any consumer, they typically err on the side of using a trusted name within the industry. In many ways, ExpressVPN is that standard-bearer. Since it began in 2009, ExpressVPN has signed up millions of users for its service under the promise that it does everything from encrypting data on their internet browser to masking their IP address in order to protect users against hackers and government surveillance.
What most of the 3 million users who currently use ExpressVPN probably weren't aware of when they signed up is that the service proves the point that hackers and government surveillance aren't mutually exclusive. On September 13th, ExpressVPN was sold to the Israeli-based company Kape Technologies in a $936 million cash and stock purchase. This acquisition added ExpressVPN to a catalog including several other VPN providers acquired by Kape Technologies since 2017. The acquiring company touted its purchase as being integral to defining the next generation in its fight for online privacy. However, the centralization the VPN services Kape Technologies owns and an examination of its history reveals the company's efforts to undermine that very cause as a distributor of malware with ties to US and Israeli intelligence operations.
Kape Technologies was founded in 2011 by partners Koby Menachemi and Shmueli Ahdut under the name CrossRider. Early in its origins, CrossRider did not bill itself as a cyber security company. Instead, the focus of the company was on web browsing and advertising technologies. Just 20 months after its founding, the tech start-up with $2 million in working capital was purchased by Israeli tech billionaire Teddy Sagi for $37 million. Menachemi and Ahdut would stay on at the company as its CEO and CTO following the purchase. With the injection of capital that Sagi's purchase put into the company, CrossRider pivoted its operations to change the scope of its outlook toward cyber security. In 2017, CrossRider cemented that change of direction when it purchased CyberGhost VPN for $10.4 million. Upon its acquisition of the Romanian-based VPN, CrossRider rebranded itself as Kape Technologies.