French and Dutch police have arrested more than 800 people on suspicion of breaking into a joint message network operation used by organized crime groups to commit murder and drug deals. Police broke into the encrypted network, called EncroChat, and read millions of "over the shoulder" messages from the suspects. In the UK, 746 people were arrested during a massive "breakthrough" neighborhood operation against organized crime, while the Netherlands arrested more than a hundred people. Additional arrests have been made in Norway, Spain and Sweden.

During June, EncroChat sent messages to its 60,000 users, warning them to discard their cell phones because their servers were "seized by government agencies" and now the network has been completely disabled. "It was as if we were sitting at the table where the criminals were chatting among themselves," said Janine van den Berg, head of the Dutch Central Police Unit.

Some of the messages on the encrypted network "were so worrying that it was far beyond our imagination," Van den Berg said at a news conference at the EU Judicial Agency headquarters in The Hague. European law enforcement agencies have also used a network hack to thwart crimes that include violence, corruption, attempted murder and widespread drug smuggling. "Certain messages have indicated plans to commit violent crimes and brought immediate action," it said.

Source: International News Agencies

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