Police cracked criminals’ chat service in January 2019

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The Dutch police already broke into the servers of the chat service EncroChat, which is popular with criminals in January 2019, according to the AD in an internal file document.

‘Key possible in telephone data’

In July of this year, it appeared that the police could read along with conversations on the normally secure EncroChat for a longer period of time, as a result of which dozens of people could be arrested. Criminals used EncroChat in the hope that the encryption used made eavesdropping impossible.

Police said it had been read into conversations on EncroChat since April. It now appears that the police already had access to the servers in January 2019. Since then, administrative information from the chat service itself has been collected by the agents.

As of January 2019, agents also had access to user-shared photos, notes, and financial data, according to the document. That data is encrypted, so that it cannot simply be viewed.

The police need the correct keys to make them legible. The file speculates that those keys may be hidden in acquired telephone data. If they are found, the police will have more information for possible investigations.

By breaking into EncroChat, the police managed to arrest several people. 8,000 kilos of cocaine, 1,200 kilos of crystal meth, dozens of weapons and 20 million euros in cash were also seized.

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