European cyber-criminal activities halted as Encrochat gets busted

July 15, 2020
Encrochat cyber criminal activities modus hackers cybercrime

In the criminal world, anonymity is their best security. No wonder we like to encrypt sensitive details.  Do you believe that encrypted chat apps are unhackable? Well, think again, because you might need to refrain from relying too much on chat applications for sensitive short messages and discussions. Once an application such as Encrochat leaks, no matter what you are, whether on the right side or on the wrong side, you will end up a victim. In this advisory, let us discuss how illegal activities got busted after a so-called secured chat app got busted.


Modus using Encrochat are under the radar

Criminals who run their modus under the radar is a necessity for their illegal activity to prosper and continue. With the aid of technology, they were able to devise a phone that can secure their communication and transaction in a sophisticated manner.

Equipped with more stealthily feature and apps, perpetrators can communicate with a high assurance of anonymity. Named as ‘Encrochat’ phone, this cost £1,500 for a six-month subscription for the device and services. It was believed distributed to approximately 60,000 users worldwide, wherein 10,000 of which are in the United Kingdom. The phone service includes no SIM association, VOIP calling, auto-delete messages, and remote ‘kill-code’ feature for complete data wipe in case it was lost or have been compromised.


Nonstop, Agile and Evasive Approach

However, with the agile and evasive approach European and British law enforcement agencies, they were able to infiltrate this under the radar communications. As reported, a total of 746 alleged criminals linked to drug operation, extortions, money laundering, and other illegal activities has been apprehended that uses Encrochat. They were able to compromise the server in which the exchange of information encompasses between these criminals. As a result, they were able to gather pieces of evidence that resulted in these arrests. The report says that they were able to stumble on this encrypted communication in March and continuous data exfiltration since April. The abrupt action of immediate multiple apprehension was done as news of data breach of the Encrochat servers spreads to its users, advising them to destroy the device immediately.


Data Loss Recovery – 54 million of laundered money and more!

In the European nation alone, the collaborative effort results in the seizure of  £54 million of laundered money, lists of unlicensed firearms including grenades and 1800 rounds of ammunition, high grades suspected drugs, and street valium, and undocumented luxury cars and watches.  They were also able to mitigate rival gang hideous acts towards another. Also, reports of numerous apprehended criminals from other countries have been received that uses this encrypted transmission, which is known to be an organized crime operator in their respective countries.

The effect of the said operation resulted in at-large criminals to lie-low in the meantime to avoid being linked to illegal activities and evade apprehension. However, law enforcement authorities promised to continue their investigation and surveillance for those individuals that gathered information and evidence from the compromised server has pointed out. Clearly, crime does not pay.

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