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Why criminals love BlackBerry phones

iPhone is most often the primary instance that comes up on every occasion any individual talks about encrypted smartphones and the regulation enforcement’s incapacity to crack that encryption. That’s as a result of years in the past, Apple made privateness and safety two core options of its and instrument merchandise — however iOS gadgets aren’t the one encrypted smartphones you’ll purchase at the present time.

In reality, the FBI has simply busted the CEO of an organization that’s been raking in hundreds of thousands of bucks by way of promoting tens of hundreds of custom designed BlackBerry smartphones around the globe. These specialised BlackBerry phones intended to keep away from surveillance, and they look like extremely coveted gadgets on this planet of arranged crime.

Vincent Ramos’s Canada-based Phantom is the corporate that has allegedly been making particular BlackBerry handsets for criminals. These gadgets lack microphones, cameras, or even GPS antennas. There’s no web surfing and no common messenger apps preinstalled, in keeping with a closely redacted FBI criticism shared by way of Motherboard.

Phantom installs Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) instrument to ship encrypted messages and gadgets may also be wiped remotely in the event that they’re seized by way of government.

Members of the Sinaloa drug cartel are it sounds as if amongst Phantom’s shoppers, in addition to the “upper echelon members” of transnational felony teams. The gadgets are most often bought in Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, and to the Hells Angels gang. According to the FBI, some 20,000 Phantom gadgets are in use international, part of them in Australia. Phantom, in the meantime, has pulled in tens of hundreds of thousands of bucks of income from gross sales of those changed BlackBerry phones.

It was once the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that bought Phantom gadgets posing as drug traffickers. That’s how regulation enforcement discovered that messages are encrypted, and the ones gadgets were created to fortify, amongst different issues, drug trafficking. Furthermore, the RCMP came upon that the phones may also be wiped remotely, the FBI criticism says.

The criticism filed within the Southern District of California fees Ramos with racketeering conspiracy to behavior undertaking affairs, in addition to conspiracy to distribute narcotics, and assisting and abetting. The criticism additionally says that the corporate was once particularly created to facilitate illegal activity.

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