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EncroChat, an encrypted phone network widely used by criminal networks dismantled.

In a joint effort between Europol and Eurojust starting as far back as 2018 has resulted in the successful dismantling of the Encrochat communication tool.

First things first, what was Encrochat? "EncroChat was one of the largest providers of encrypted digital communication with a very high share of users presumably engaged in criminal activity. User hotspots were particularly present in source and destination countries for cocaine and cannabis trade, as well as in money laundering centres."

This unique operation involved the infiltration of the communication network, allowing for a large scale interception, sharing and analysis of millions of messages that were exchanged between criminals to plan serious crimes. Watching over the shoulder of criminals in real time meant law enforcement could gain insights into operational networks through the monitoring of live chats and in serious cases that "indicated plans to commit imminent violent crimes and triggered immediate action".

According to Europol, "the abuse of the encrypted communication technologies is a key facilitator of their criminal activities."

Europol provided extensive analytical and financial support, technical expertise and a secured platform for the exchange of information between the countries involved. Eurojust facilitated the judicial cooperation which will now see the information gathered being made available to more than 300 investigations.

More details available here.

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