Dutch police announced on Friday that they had taken down the encrypted communications platform Exclu after hacking into the service to monitor the activities of criminal organizations.

The operation consisted of two separate investigations starting in September 2020 and April 2022, when police also carried out 79 targeted searches in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium and arrested 42 people.

Eurojust, Europol and police forces from Italy, Sweden, France and Germany participated in the law enforcement operations.

Two of those arrested are believed to be the owners and managers of the encrypted telecommunications platform. The other 40 were users of the Exclu service, including drug lab operators holding significant amounts of narcotics, firearms and more than 4 million euros in cash.

In the Netherlands alone, police raided 22 locations and arrested 11 people suspected of being linked to the Exclu platform.

Dutch police say they used their expertise in technology and cybercrime to hack into the Exclu service, identify its users and ultimately take down its infrastructure.

Exclu was selling six-month user subscriptions for €800, allowing users to exchange encrypted messages and media (voice recordings, videos, images). THE mention of the font that the app had around 3,000 users, including 750 based in the Netherlands.

The authorities now have all the communication data, which they use to continue their investigations. This can lead to the discovery of additional illegal activity and provide evidence to support charges against suspects.

However, a segment of Excluded’s user base is made up of professionals in sensitive fields, such as lawyers, investigators, notaries and doctors, for whom confidentiality is essential. These people are advised to contact the police and request the deletion of their data from the seized servers.

Some people use these obscure communication platforms instead of popular end-to-end encrypted products like Signal because they promise extreme privacy and multiple layers of encryption and security.

Plus, lesser-known crypto phone services like Exclu are less likely to be detected and targeted by law enforcement, allowing their existence to remain a secret from the general public for years to come. .

A notable case of withdrawal from a similar crypto-phone platform was that of EncroChat in July 2022when several European police forces collaborated to dismantle the service and use the data seized to identify criminals.

EncroChat had over 60,000 users worldwide and sold subscriptions for €1,500 per six months while offering 24/7 customer support.

The FBI and the Australian Federal Police have also created a fake end-to-end encrypted chat platform named ANOM, allowing law enforcement to monitor the activities of criminal groups. This ultimately led to the arrest of 800 people.


Source link