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Busted ‘safe’ EncroChat messaging service results in over 6,500 arrests by police • Graham Cluley

'Secure' EncroChat messaging service leads to over 6,500 arrests by police

Again in 2020, legislation enforcement brokers throughout Europe had a serious breakthrough of their combat towards organised crime. They managed to crack into EncroChat – a safe encrypted messaging service which ran on modified Android telephones, that promised “worry-free safe communications”.

EncroChat’s prospects have been nearly all criminals, who had no qualms about shopping for a encrypted telephone from EncroChat (for roughly £1000), after which pay a hefty subscription for continued use of the system.

EncroChat handsets even got here with a “panic” choice the place simply coming into a 4 digit code might delete your whole information, supposedly messing up any makes an attempt by police to assemble proof of your wrongdoing.

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However investigators managed to realize full management of EncroChat’s infrastructure, and will learn customers’ supposedly-encrypted messages in real-time.

In a livestreamed press convention this week, Europol shared the newest outcomes of the investigation into the EncroChat encrypted messaging system – used extensively by legal teams.

Legislation enforcement brokers have been capable of intercept over 115 million conversations between criminals, by an estimated 60,000 customers. Europol says that the surveillance helped “forestall violent assaults, tried murders, corruption and large-scale drug transports, in addition to receive large-scale data on organised crime.”

Encrochat by crime area

Based on Europol, the dismantling of EncroChat has resulted in 6.558 arrests to this point (together with 197 high-value targets) – with the seizure of near 900 million Euros, and tons of of tonnes of medicine. Thus far, criminals convicted because of the proof gathered from EncroChat face a complete of seven,134 years of imprisonment.

Encrochat in numbers

As you may hear on this episode of the “Smashing Safety” podcast, one EncroChat person was recognized after he despatched a photograph of his pet canine by way of the service (maybe not realising that the canine’s pet tag was revealing a telephone quantity that he ought to have in all probability stored personal.)

In one other hilarious case, a drug vendor from Liverpool was recognized after he despatched an image by way of Encrochat of some mature Stilton blue cheese he was shopping for at a grocery store.

What he didn’t realise, as we describe in a completely different episode of the “Smashing Safety” podcast, was that the picture confirmed sufficient of his palm and fingertips for Merseyside police to establish him.


Think about believing you’re a giant cheese on this planet of crime, and to be caught out in such a manner…

Discovered this text attention-grabbing? Observe Graham Cluley on Twitter or Mastodon to learn extra of the unique content material we publish.

Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity business, having labored for plenty of safety firms because the early Nineteen Nineties when he wrote the primary ever model of Dr Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit for Home windows. Now an impartial analyst, he recurrently makes media appearances and is an worldwide public speaker on the subject of cybersecurity, hackers, and on-line privateness.
Observe him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an e mail.



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