Reporters for the Vice Motherboard, citing their own sources in the encrypted phone industry, report that the manufacturer of encrypted devices Ciphr, which is very popular in the criminal environment, is ceasing to work in Australia.
According to journalists, the developers of Ciphr are afraid of attention from law enforcement agencies, since Ciphr is one of the few major players still working in this area.
Let me remind you that last summer we talked about the large-scale operation Trojan Shield (in some departments the operation was called Greenlight and Ironside), the completion of which was reported by the FBI, Europol and special services of other countries of the world.
As part of the operation, law enforcement officers created and for several years maintained their own platform for encrypted communications Anom (aka An0m or Anøm – in the reports of different departments the name “sounds” differently), similar to Encrochat and Phantom Secure. This means of communication has gained immense popularity among criminals all over the world, thanks to which law enforcement officers have been able to monitor all their communications. Over the years of Anom’s work, law enforcement agencies have managed to distribute more than 12,000 “secure” devices to criminals in more than 100 countries around the world.
Sources say Ciphr has now banned resellers from working in Australia, so the Trojan Shield operation mentioned would have been impossible without the efforts of the Australian Federal Police. The fact is that in this business, phone sales are usually outsourced to distributors and agents operating in certain markets, and Australia is now banned.
In early July, another person provided the publication with screenshots of the Ciphr device. One screenshot showed that the user still had a few days of subscription, but the status bar at the top of the screen said Disabled. The screenshots were taken with a Ciphr phone operating in Australia.
Another source said that Ciphr also stopped working in the United States, but journalists could not find any direct evidence of this.
What is Ciphr?
Ciphr offers its users a series of privacy-focused apps that the company itself installs on Android devices. These include the end-to-end encrypted Ciphr Text messenger, the Ciphr Mail email system, and the Ciphr Vault local file storage solution.
Distributors of these encrypted phones can sell devices pre-installed with the company’s software for thousands of dollars (with a semi-annual or annual subscription).
According to media reports, Ciphr is widely used by criminal gangs including drug dealers in Australia. For example, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, one particular criminal organization managed to avoid Operation Anom through the use of Ciphr.
Interestingly, the Ciphr developers recently introduced the free Ciphr Lite app, which has been downloaded over a thousand times according to the Google Play Store. The application allows you to send a message to another user on the Ciphr network if the corresponding parameter is enabled. The app doesn’t need a phone number or email address to register users, but judging by the reviews, many people didn’t like the company’s new service.
“What the f * ck @ [are you] releasing a paid subscriber app? This is not a game, ”writes one of the angry Ciphr users.
The list of countries in which Ciphr plans to implement Ciphr Lite includes more than 100 countries around the world, but it does not include the United States and Australia.
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