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The cracking of EncroChat

View profile for Correna Platt
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Met Police under urgent review over forensics mishandling

On the 2nd July 2020 the BBC reported that the top secret communication system used by criminals has been successfully penetrated and this has led to the arrests of hundreds of criminals and sent shockwaves throughout organised crime groups in Europe.

The investigation by Europol and Eurojust led the way to dismantle the encrypted phone network. They state that they are now able to intercept, share and analyse millions of messages that have been exchanged between criminals for the purpose of planning serious crime and this has resulted in the seizure of drugs, firearms, vehicles and cash, and led to the arrests of many people.

What is EncroChat?

The system operated on customised Android phones and was a means of communicating by messages which, up until now, were thought to be secure and impenetrable.

The EncroChat phones were presented to customers as guaranteeing perfect anonymity and perfect discretion both of the encrypted interface and the terminal itself. It also had functions that were specifically designed to make it possible to erase compromising messages, for example at the time of arrest. In addition, the device could be erased remotely.

The press release by Eurojust and Europol state that this is now not the case and that on the 13th June 2020 EncroChat sent a message to all its users with the advice to immediately throw away the phones as they had been compromised.

What should you do if you are arrested or charged in connection with offences which may relate to evidence obtained from an encrypted phone?

Arrests are being made now in the UK based on the evidence from the “hacking” of the network.

The Metropolitan Police have made 171 arrest and seized £13.3 million in cash.

In a statement to the BBC the Metropolitan Police Commissioner stated “This is just the beginning. We will be disrupting organised criminal networks as a result of these operations for weeks, months and possibly years to come “.

If you are arrested or charged it is imperative that you instruct an experienced legal representative from the outset. There are many potential arguments to challenge the admissibility of the evidence which has been obtained via the dismantling of the EncroChat network and they need to be raised and considered at an early stage.

Our expert criminal defence solicitors and lawyers have extensive experience of successfully defending clients accused of the full range of criminal offences. Our criminal defence solicitors act for clients throughout England and Wales and we pride ourselves on achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients. For immediate advice from a member of our specialist team, please call 0161 696 6188 or complete our online enquiry form.