European police and crime agencies have hacked an encrypted communications platform used by thousands of criminals and drug traffickers in one of the largest law enforcement busts ever, according to Endgadget.
By infiltrating the Encrochat platform, police across Europe gained access to a hundred million encrypted messages, which – in the UK alone – helped officials arrest 746 suspects, seize £54 million (about $67 million) and confiscate 77 firearms and two tonnes of Class A and B drugs. The encryption code on Encrochat was likely cracked in early March, and law enforcement agencies began collecting data from the platform on April 1st. It is not clear exactly how officials hacked the platform, which has now been shut down.
It is quite rare to achieve such a significant win against cyber criminals. Law enforcement have been left behind in the cyber arms race over the last few years so a result like this will hopefully act as a blow to criminal groups around the world.
Once a criminal service such as Encrochat is shut down, it is quite normal to see another similar service crop up. This can be with the added dangers of an even more underground service that has learnt from its predecessor’s mistakes.
However, UK cyber intelligence in the likes of GCHQ are closing the gap on criminals gangs which have had a head start, and it is likely we will start to see more good news stories on the disruption of more online crime.