The Secret Activities of The Cyber Raizon Group Are Revealed
Services to security forces in Singapore, activities for the Philippine Intelligence Coordination Agency and mysterious deals with Mexico. These are just some of the activities of the Israeli cyber intelligence group Raizon, led by Matan Caspi and Eran Reshef, which previously brokered a huge NSO deal with a foreign army.
In April 2015, 24 Israeli women and businessmen gathered for a joint photo for public relations purposes. The goal: Hadassah International, the fundraising arm of the Jerusalem Medical Center, announces the establishment of an international board of trustees. To date, Hadassah International has raised about $ 100 million in donations.
Among the council members who were chosen to volunteer at the time were the founder of the supermarket chain Rami Levy, the founder of the Manrav construction company, Avraham Kuznitzky, the former economic advisor to Chief of Staff Ram Aminoh, the owner of the Gap and Zara brands in Israel, Joe Schwebel and former Africa Israel CEO Avraham Novogrotsky . It is doubtful if any of them knew then, and perhaps even today, what one of the young members of the council is doing, giving a throne.
Caspi is one of the five founders of the cyber and cyber intelligence group Rayzone, whose products enable, among other things, the collection of confidential information or the location of a person, or a group of people, via the Internet or cellular network, in real time and in retrospect. In recent weeks, the company has been in the spotlight following publications about it in the world’s leading media, including Forbes and the Guardian.
As previously revealed, the worlds of espionage and intelligence are no strangers to providing money. Caspi and another Bryson partner, Eran Reshef, brokered during 2011, close to Raison’s, a deal in which the cyber spy company NSO sold the Pegasus system to a foreign country’s military, through a foreign businessman convicted of corruption offenses. The court has previously banned the publication of the name of the state and the businessman, at the request of the Ministry of Defense and NSO. Raison received some of the brokerage fees in the deal, due to Caspi and Reshef’s involvement.
Raison’s activities since the NSO deal have been conducted in complete secrecy. Reshef, who lives in Ramat Hasharon and according to Rayson reports to the Registrar of Companies, serves as the company’s CEO, and Caspi, who recently moved to the Netherlands, together with their three partners – Ron Zelicha, Yochai Bar Zakai-Hasiduf, a former Defense Ministry official and Yaron Elrom – managed to get under the radar. .
The company’s reports to the tax authority t as well as documents previously submitted to the court in a dispute between shareholders in one of Reison’s service providers, the Israeli cyber intelligence company Senpai, help raise the profile of its activities, customers and the turnover of three companies in the group. For 2019 about NIS 107 million.
According to the Registrar of Companies, the Raizon Group, which operates offices in Toyota Towers in Tel Aviv, employs about 180 people and has 7 subsidiaries under it. According to the company’s website it has 9 different products. However, its main activity is concentrated in three companies that finally merged in September.
The list of intelligence agencies, secret services and internal security mechanisms that Raison works with is one of her best kept secrets. But legal documents reveal at least some of the countries it has operated, is operating in or has previously negotiated with: Mexico, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Greece.
This information emerges from documents submitted to the court in 2019 following a dispute between shareholders in Sanfai. As previously revealed in a Calcalist supplementary investigation, in May 2018, a month before the stormy elections held in Malaysia to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak who was recently convicted of corruption, the Malaysian GSS (Malaysian Special Branch) purchased from Sanfai for $ 1.5 million a system used to track activists Political of the opposition.
The documents also mentioned Raizon, who even considered acquiring Sanfai’s operations. A transcript of a conversation about a joint customer of the two companies was submitted to the court between Ron Zelicha, one of Bryson’s shareholders (20%) and Snappy’s VP of sales, Roi Shulman.
SanPai’s list of customers and contracts reveals that it has sold various services to Reizon in a number of countries. One of them for example is Mexico. According to the documents, Rayzon paid $ 50,000 to Sanfai in March 2018, in exchange for services she provided to her in the Central American country. It is not clear from the documents who the body in Mexico that received Sanfai’s service for Rayson and what the service is.
Three other countries on the Asian continent, for which Sanfai documents provided services, negotiated with them or were entitled to commissions from them for Rayzon, are Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and PNP A country in Europe that Sanfai has been in contact with as a travel agent is the Greek police.
The most well-known company in the Raizon Group is Raison itself, which was established in October 2010. It is engaged in the design, production and sale of technological solutions for collecting information covertly from the Internet for the intelligence and security industries. These are sold as mentioned to governments, police forces and internal security mechanisms mainly in Asia and Central America, but also in Europe.
The second company, and perhaps the most interesting in the group, is “Eco-On Technologies”, which was established in February 2018. Eco-On is developing a platform that enables security and criminal investigations to be carried out. The platform makes it possible to analyze digital and computerized data, and build a time and location-based intelligence image.
The company’s flagship product is Echo, a signal intelligence system that provides intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies with a variety of information about network users. It is described as a “secret method of collecting information about any Internet user, without the need for the cooperation of the target or of a commercial authority.” Echo is an agnostic tool for the type of device or operating system (i.e. suitable for any device or operating system) and does not require the installation of physical equipment. According to the company’s description, the product “enables goal-oriented access (gathering information on a particular point of interest) and information-focused access (massive collection on all Internet users in the country)”.
According to an article on Raizon published in Forbes this month, the GPS information obtained from the echo is accurate at the level of the single meter, but may arrive with a slight delay and not in real time. Eco, according to the article, uses location information collected from mobile ads. Sources declined to tell Forbes how the company gets to the information, but noted that this is a practice that is becoming common in the field. This worries human rights activists who fear that there is very little control over the information that advertisers collect without the knowledge of consumers.
The third interesting company in the group is Ruth Networks, which was established in October 2016. Ruth is a cyber start-up company. The company investigates and develops a defensive solution to the problem of individual attribution (anonymity and protection of personal information) of users of cellular networks. According to a publication in the British Guardian two weeks ago, the Raizon Group gained access to a global telecom network through a cellular operator in the Channel Islands in the first half of 2018, which apparently allowed its customer at the time to monitor mobile phone locations around the world.
Another product of the Rayson Group is called Vegas: it is a system that “provides intimate and meaningful information about any device connected to the targeted network,” according to the company. Once installed on the target’s network, it performs continuous interception and fully monitors networks, providing consistent and ongoing intelligence information. It provides visibility that cannot be obtained from intrusion into ISP systems and thus produces intimate and meaningful information about any device connected to the target network.
Another Rayson product is called Piranha and is defined as a system for capturing IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity). This is a unique identification number of each used in the cellular network used by the telecom companies. Such products are used by police and intelligence agencies seeking to intercept and monitor cellular communications, including call tapping. This is one of the reasons why human rights organizations have also expressed concern about the use of such technology.
The Raison website states that the system “provides advanced tools for using the information collected to manipulate the devices.” The system can be implemented in other systems, such as surveillance cameras, face recognition systems, biometric databases and more. It is surprising to find that Reizon also offers a system called ArrowCell that provides protection from IMSI catchers – that is, it manufactures the cyber system and also blocks such systems.
Another product called Sprinter is a system that allows you to intercept cellular networks in order to gain access and record calls, voicemails, text messages and location. According to the company, “The Sprinter system intercepts and records the outgoing and incoming calls of the target, the SMS messages and maneuvers the communication of the target. The system is completely transparent and undetectable, neither by the cellular operator nor by the target. ”
Sought tax relief
According to information from the financial statements (solo) for 2019 and the tax reports of the three main companies in the Rayzon Group, the turnover of the merged company is about NIS 107 million. Raizon has a turnover of NIS 98.8 million, Echo-On NIS 6.4 million and Ruth Networks NIS 1.6 million.
The equity of the three companies stands at NIS 33.2 million according to the 2019 reports, while that of Reison stands at NIS 28.4 million, that of Eco-On at NIS 1.45 million and that of Ruth at NIS 3.38 million. NIS 12.7 million, while Shako recorded a loss of NIS 2.1 million and Ruth a loss of NIS 5.04 million.
In December 2019, according to the information, the tax authorities submitted to Rayson, Eco-On and two other subsidiaries in the group (Impulse Progmatics and Oxilon, which are controlled by Rayzon), an application for significant tax benefits under the Capital Investment Encouragement Law. The implication of the application, which as far as is known has not yet been approved, is that the income of the companies from cyber operations abroad will be taxed at 12% – 16% instead of 23%. The dividend tax on shareholders will be 20% instead of 30%.
Rayson said in a response: “The company does not usually refer to its activities for its customers.”