- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2015

Investigators of the Paris attacks now say they have found evidence that shows some of the terrorists used encrypted apps to hide their communication plotting the deadly shootings and bombings.

Officials had previously said they found such apps on cell phone recovered from the crime scenes but stopped short of saying the apps were used in plotting the attacks.

Officials told CNN they found evidence showing the apps — including WhatsApp and Telegram, both of which offer end-to-end encryption that protects users’ privacy — were used in communications among the attackers for a period of time before the attacks.

But it might never be known what was said in the messages on those apps, officials told CNN.

Investigators were able to recover some encrypted messages on at least one cell phone recovered, which could suggest at least one of the attackers was sloppier than the others.

In addition to using the apps to communicate, the attackers also avoided surveillance by changing cell phone SIM cards, CNN reported.

The latest evidence of the use of such apps in the Paris attack comes as the FBI and U.S. national security officials are increasing public discussion about the difficulty investigators are running in to with encrypted apps.

Tech companies have so far refused to make any changes to their encryption standards to allow compliance with court-ordered warrants and many companies boosted their encryption services after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed details of the government’s massive cell phone surveillance program.

 

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