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On 2nd July, the UK's national news outlets broke the story of an "unprecedented" 4-year-long, Europe-wide investigation that, in the UK, resulted in the arrest of 746 criminals, including many high-profile "kingpins" of the criminal underworld as well as corrupt police officers. According to The Mirror:

NCA Director of Investigations Nikki Holland, said: “This is the broadest and deepest ever UK operation into serious organised crime. Together we’ve protected the public by arresting middle-tier criminals and the kingpins, the so-called iconic untouchables who have evaded law enforcement for years, and now we have the evidence to prosecute them.”

If these phones were employing a form of encryption, then it stands to reason that the French police and the UK's National Crime Agency must have been able to break it in some way. Is there any further information on what encryption EncroChat phones were using, and how exactly it was broken?

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    @schroeder I'm unsure how you can say it lacks research when I linked to two of the several articles I read in search of the answer. If you don't believe that that answer is yet available, that's a separate issue, and possibly even an interim answer - it's certainly not a reason to downvote the question. – Prometheus Jul 3 at 19:40
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    The company was extremely secretive, so details on the encryption they used will not be public. And police are not going to explain how they broke into an encrypted network while the investigation is ongoing. You ask for "further information" but fail to include the information in your own links... – schroeder Jul 3 at 19:41
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    As a result, I, and another user, came back with the details in your own links as an answer. If you already knew that, you should have included it. – schroeder Jul 3 at 19:42
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    That's ridiculous, I'm not going to put everything from the articles I read into the question, I put as much as was needed for a summary. gowenfawr's answer is notable because it suggested that the data was not end-to-end encrypted, indicating they actually read the articles and did some thinking outside of them. You did nothing but insist that the answer was already in the articles that I linked to while failing to square how the data could both have been "intercepted" at the server while end-to-end encrypted. – Prometheus Jul 3 at 19:48
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    +1 for this question; I wish this question were re-opened and upvoted. It's what brought me to SE today. It's not opinion-based. Just because many people don't know the answer doesn't mean that there isn't an answer. – Ryan Jul 11 at 0:31
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As the linked article states, is appears the server farm was compromised rather than encryption being broken:

They eventually discovered that EncroChat was operating from servers based in France and were eventually able "to put a technical device in place" which allowed them to access the encrypted messages sent over the company's network.

Although it isn't clear what this device was, it suggests the investigators were able to deploy some form of technical implant on the network rather than break the encryption protecting the messages in transit.

Smart money says that the chat was not end-to-end encrypted, and that the police implant tapped into servers where the data was unencrypted, or perhaps even found unencrypted server-to-server backend traffic on the wire.

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    My confusion lies in that most outlets quote the company as having used end-to-end encryption, but you're probably on the right line that they were lying about that. – Prometheus Jul 3 at 19:42
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    @gowenfawr another source said that a company rep found government malware on the phones: inews.co.uk/news/technology/… So e2e encryption is still a possibility. – schroeder Jul 3 at 19:53
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The “technical device” was possibly an implant in the build chain that compiled and deployed the Encrochat application to the phones. It may have inserted a corrupt encryption library, a persistent key logger, RAT, or other malware into the deployed package.

But we’ll likely never know for sure unless an Encrochat employee comes forward. And that’s extremely unlikely, as the kinds of people who were caught by this sting would probably be unforgiving towards the people who they blame for not protecting them against this attack.

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