The chief information officer of a leading virtual private network is reportedly among three former US intelligence and military personnel fined more than $ 1.6 million by the US Department of Justice. To resolve charges related to hacking. ExpressVPN CIO Daniel Gericke as first reported Tuesday by Reuters, is a former US intelligence operative and one of three Project Raven members who worked as mercenary hackers for the UAE, helping him spy on your enemies. ExpressVPN said its trust in Gericke “remains strong.”
The three defendants agreed to cooperate with US authorities and pay the fine in exchange for a deferred prosecution, according to a Statement from the Department of Justice. All three have also lost US and foreign security clearances and face future employment restrictions. The deal comes a day after ExpressVPN announced that it had been sold as part of a $ 936 million deal to former adware distributors. , a company co-founded by a former Israeli surveillance agent and a billionaire previously convicted of insider trading.
Despite future job restrictions, ExpressVPN said in an email to CNET that it still supports Gericke’s position within the company.
“We have known the key facts regarding Daniel’s employment history before we hired him, as he proactively and transparently disclosed them to us early on. In fact, it was his background and experience that made him an employee. invaluable to our mission to protect the privacy and security of users, “ExpressVPN said, adding that the company has already benefited from Gericke’s history as a US intelligence agent.
“We were confident at the time and continue to rely now on Daniel’s desire and ability to contribute to our mission of enabling users to better protect their privacy and security. He has shown nothing but professionalism and commitment to advancing our ability to preserve user data. safe and private. Our trust in Daniel remains strong. “
By Tuesday night, Gericke’s social media accounts on Twitter and LinkedIn appeared to have been removed from public view.
Raven Project, first exhibited in 2019, involved the development and deployment of hacking and surveillance tools for the UAE that were allegedly used to target American victims and prominent activists who spoke against the UAE’s human rights record. Other targets of the Raven Project allegedly included the Emir of Qatar, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist in Yemen.
In a statement from the Justice Department, Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko called the agreement a “one-of-a-kind resolution” for an investigation of two different types of crimes.
“Provides export-controlled and unlicensed defense services in support of the exploitation of computer networks, and a commercial company that creates, supports and operates systems specifically designed to allow others to access unauthorized data from computers around the world, including in America, “he said. “Hackers for hire and those who support such activities in violation of US law should expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct.”