Et tu, Sky ECC? Reports online, Sky ECC hacked, 1500 Dutch agents, Arrests galore

Mar 09 , 2021

Et tu, Sky ECC? Reports online, Sky ECC hacked, 1500 Dutch agents, Arrests galore

Breaking News: Reports have been coming in today that Sky ECC has been hacked by Belgium Detectives for a significant period of time. It is alleged messages have been read and the service compromised. Over 1500 agents have been kicking in doors & making arrests.

Netherlands News outlet AD states Sky ECC has also been a target of this operation & resellers have been sweeped up also. They are alleging that Sky ECC has been compromised for a significant time  meaning this could be the start of another Encro style drama.

Todays stories have been taken from the Dutch media & are reprinted below n English:

13/02/21

Drugs, financial crime, corruption: criminals betrayed by their phones, deemed impenetrable

https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail_drogue-criminalite-financiere-corruption-les-criminels-trahis-par-leurs-telephones-reputes-impenetrables?id=10714972

The federal police carried out this morning about 200 searches, including twenty reinforced with special units, targeting organized crime during a coordinated intervention at the highest police and judicial level, according to information gathered by RTBF . The operation is the result of intense international cooperation. In Belgium, the security forces were mobilized throughout the territory with a particularly important deployment around Antwerp where the port is seen as a hub for drug trafficking. Searches were also carried out in Brussels, Limburg and Wallonia. At this point, more than ten people have been deprived of their liberty, hundreds of thousands of euros have been seized and weapons have been found.

This unprecedented operation follows two and a half years of investigations by the Federal Judicial Police, the Federal Prosecutor's Office and the Antwerp Prosecutor's Office under the direction of an investigating judge from Antwerp (Mechelen section) . On the side of the police and justice, if we confirm the conduct of searches, no one wishes to make an official comment at this stage. The federal prosecution should communicate tomorrow on this file.

However, RTBF has learned from several sources that the investigation is focused on the communication network made up of SKY ECC cryptophones, sometimes called PGP ("Pretty Good Privacy") phones, widely used by organized crime circles. Criminals, sometimes from abroad, obtained such devices from dealers operating in Belgium. Drug environment, serious financial crime and corruption are among the matters investigated by the federal judicial police.

Investigators deciphered millions of messages exchanged by criminals

According to our information, federal police officers, notably within the "federal computer crime unit", have succeeded in infiltrating, spying on and locating devices designed to ensure maximum discretion to their users. Thanks to considerable technical and computer work, investigators have gained direct access to millions of messages related to criminal projects, mostly secret conversations of drug cartels. Believing themselves to be safe from eavesdropping by the authorities, suspects sometimes communicated without any restraint via this network.

15:00 09/03/21

Hundreds of Belgian houses searched in action against international drug network

https://www.ad.nl/buitenland/honderden-belgische-huizen-doorzocht-bij-actie-tegen-internationaal-drugsnetwerk~a1dfa0be/

As part of a major drug investigation, the Belgian federal police has today carried out house searches in hundreds of places. All over the country, agents raided at least 200 places.

The focus of the actions is, according to the judiciary in Mechelen, in the regions of Antwerp and Belgian Limburg. 1500 agents were deployed in the raids. Broadcaster RTBF reports that the action started at 5 a.m. and is the result of two and a half years of police investigation. There are said to have been 'many arrests'.

The investigation is said to have focused not only on drug traffickers, but also on persons who facilitated the criminal activities. These include informants, money launderers and people who have been bribed to provide services to criminals. 

Cryptotelephones

Justice in Belgium seems to focus mainly on the encrypted telephone service Sky ECC, reports  Het Laatste Nieuws . Phones running the messaging service are very popular with criminals. Last year, however, the service was cracked by the police. Since then, tens of thousands of messages have been read by detectives.

Both the Sky ECC company and the sellers of the app and phone are said to be targets of the action today, the paper writes. According to sources, the agents also raided three lawyers in Antwerp who also used such a crypto phone.

International network

Within the network that was researched, there are also 'international branches'. Last year, after the discovery of a container containing 2,800 kilos of cocaine in the port of Antwerp, the Belgian police dismantled a large drug gang that smuggled hundreds of millions of drugs into Europe.

The investigation, in which the Netherlands also took part, revealed criminal connections with at least four European countries and South America. In July, a  group of Amsterdammers were arrested in the port of Antwerp   at a container in which 3,400 kilos of the white stuff was hidden between charcoal from Paraguay.

Harbor of Rotterdam

A month earlier, seven suspects were arrested for a drug trafficking intended for the Netherlands and Belgium from Brazil via the port of Rotterdam. Among them were six Belgians and one Dutch . About 3.2 tons of cocaine was intercepted. The Belgians also turned out to be active in the port of Antwerp.

As a result of the smuggling in Rotterdam, a total of twelve suspects were arrested, both in the Netherlands and in Belgium. One of them was the former owner of a fish restaurant in Breda . The Public Prosecution Service in Rotterdam suspects him of involvement in the import of the batch of cocaine.

Cryptotelephone service Sky cracked in Belgium’ | Tech

https://www.ad.nl/buitenland/honderden-belgische-huizen-doorzocht-bij-actie-tegen-internationaal-drugsnetwerk~a1dfa0be/

Investigation services have again managed to crack a major provider of encrypted crypto phones. According to Belgian media, this is Sky ECC, a provider of these phones that is frequently used by criminals. Rumors that Sky would have been cracked had been circulating for some time.

The Belgian federal police raided 200 places in Belgium on Tuesday morning around 5:00 a.m. 1,500 officers would have been involved in this. According to Belgian media, it was already possible to crack the popular service in December 2020, after which the police and judicial authorities would have read live for a while with the messages that criminals sent each other. Large consignments of drugs allegedly intercepted in the port of Antwerp are attributed to reading along with these messages.