Fake encryption claims in chats leads to Criminals Arrest


To all those who are using various communication platforms with a thought that they are encrypted and so are free from prying eyes, here’s a news piece that needs your attention. It is not true that all communication platforms with such encryption claims are operating in-real as said.

One such platform is ‘Encrochat’, the one that was used in the UK till 2020. The platform claiming to offer chats enriched with encryption was not operating as said and led to the arrest of its users.

‘Encrochat’ was being used by two drug traffickers who made a mistake of sending a photo to one another along with a dog( maybe the dog was supposed to be a passcode). And to their misfortune, the National Crime Agency (NCA) intercepted the chat to nab the criminals leading to their arrests.

Going deep into the case, two criminals- Danny Brown-55 and Stefan Baldauf -62 were caught by the law enforcement and were sentenced to 26 and 28 years’ imprisonment, respectively. They were arrested when the NCA launched a crackdown on EncroChat network, widely used by criminals since 2016.

During its start days, the company claimed that it was highly anonymous and so won the trust of over 60,000 users worldwide, of whom 10k were from UK.

NCA somehow took control of the network and nabbed over 746 criminals. Though it is unclear how the law enforcement infiltrated the network?

Coming back to the topic, the two criminals had a communication in which one party sent a picture to another and this is where they made a mistake. Though they managed to conceal their identity by using pseudonyms in chats, they paid little attention to mask the identity of their dog. As a result, a phone number engraved on the locket in its neck led to the owner and then the criminals sending them to the prison.

Now, the essence that has to be learnt from this entire story is that never believe in firms that boost themselves about offering encrypted chats or a secured communication-line. As we never know how best they are in keeping their word or who is screening the servers in their data centers to read & analyze the info flowing through.


Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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