European law-enforcement officials have shut down an encrypted Android-based communications platform used exclusively by criminals to plot murders, traffic illegal drugs, commit money laundering and plan other organized crimes. An international law-enforcement team from the France and the Netherlands cracked the encryption of EncroChat, a secure mobile messaging service that was “one of the largest providers of encrypted communications,” according to the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA). U.K. officials had been investigating the platform and nefarious activities of the criminals using it since 2016 through Operation Venetic, working alongside international law-enforcement agencies to share technical expertise and intelligence. Two months ago investigators in France and the Netherlands cracked the network’s encryption, allowing law enforcement to listen in to criminal communications about selling and trafficking drugs, laundering money and murdering rivals, authorities said. “The infiltration of this command-and-control communication platform for the U.K.’s criminal marketplace is like having an inside person in every top organized crime group in the country,” NCA director of investigations Nikki Holland said in a statement. “This is the broadest- and deepest-ever U.K. operation into serious organized crime. More than one murder was disrupted as a result, authorities said. “A specialist NCA team, working closely with policing partners, has prevented rival gangs carrying…
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