Synesis stops cooperation with Aleph Digital startup. Fraud investigation launched

Synesis closed the Aleph project. The company’s experts did not reproduce the results demonstrated by Aleph Digital startup, and also found traces of fraudulent schemes in the team’s actions. An investigation against Kirill Sancharov and his partners has been launched as the team is suspected of fraud.

We believe that Kirill Sancharov is a serial IT fraudster who successfully replicates the scheme of attracting investments in breakthrough compression technology. The outstanding results in the field of compression of incompressible files were obtained by him using trick applications. The code is an obfuscation of existing PAQ family algorithms,” comments Nikolai Ptitsyn, managing partner of Synesis.

Nikolai Ptitsyn and Kirill Sancharov (Aleph Digital)

We believe that Aleph’s tricky applications simulate data compression in various ways, for example, by covertly writing source files to a local disk or to the cloud. The disclosure of this scheme was delayed due to the endless delay in transferring executable files and source codes to our experts for testing. For months, Kirill postponed the transfer of materials under the pretext of the technology leak risk, “studying” at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, health problems or persecution by third parties,” continues Nikolai Ptitsyn.

Despite the difficulties in accessing the source code for Aleph Digital’s products, Synesis experts were able to identify that they are simplified or rewritten versions of the algorithms of the well-known PAQ family with open source codes and a GNU GPL license. The executable files were comparable in operating time and compression ratio with freely available archivers (PAQ-paq8pxd, ZPAQ). One of the versions of the archiver received from Kirill Sancharov exactly repeated the work of paq8pxd -s14.

Attempts to confuse our experts were also made by providing some executable files demonstrating an “incredible” degree of compression. Such programs have successfully reduced the size of files with data obtained from the MT pseudo-random number generator, which is unattainable for all compression algorithms available today. Surprisingly, they even compressed their own archives. For example, by sequentially compression of a 1 GB file, you could come to about 7 KB. Decompiling one of these versions showed that it hides a copy of the compressed file, and fills the archive with “garbage.” When unzipping, the copy was returned to its place. After Sancharov found out our expert’s testing methods, the Aleph Digital team made unsuccessful attempts to change the archiver operation scheme.

In order to prevent the recurrence of fraud, we publish the composition of the Aleph Digital group, to which, in addition to Sancharov Kirill Vladimirovich (Kirill Sancharov, @hack_them_all), Konev Maxim Pavlovich, Shmelkov Andrei Nikolaevich, Skripkin Aleksandr Vladimirovich, Arkhipov Evgeny Sergeevich, Soldatov Aleksandr Vladimirovich, Liz Yuryevna, Agafonov Anatoly. The legal entities Aleph Digital (Aleph Digital, TIN 7751159365) and Contact-S (TIN 7709491697) are associated with Kirill Sancharov.

Synesis stops all joint activities with Kirill Sancharov and Aleph Digital startup, including in the joint company Synesis Aleph.