Police sold "encrypted phones" to criminal networks; Raids, arrests in multiple countries
Police forces in at least 16 countries, including the Netherlands, performed raids and arrests on Monday in an international undercover operation that involved the police selling "encrypted phones" to criminal networks and spying on their communications for months, De Telegraaf reported. Europol will hold a press conference on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
In the Netherlands, the police raided multiple places in Noord-Brabant, Limburg and Rotterdam, according NU.nl. There were also raids in other European countries, including Germany and Sweden, as well as in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Hundreds of people were arrested.
According to De Telegraaf, the criminals involved bought "cryptophones" through their contacts, which turned out to be police informants and undercover police officers. The phones were not as encrypted as the criminals thought, and police forces in multiple countries were able to spy on their communications, and pinpoint the location of the phones, for months, the newspaper wrote.
Europol called the operation "the most sophisticated attempt to date to disrupt the activities of criminals in all parts of the world".
Previously, the Dutch police managed to gain access to multiple encrypted messaging services, including SkyECC and EncroChat. But in this case, the police themselves controlled the network.