Intercepted WhatsApp messages led to Belgian terror arrests

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The FBI has been lobbying hard to get unfettered access to the messages passed by encrypted messaging services. But they apparently didn’t need that level of access to WhatsApp messages sent between members of an alleged Chechen jihadist group operating in Belgium. According to a report by Bloomberg , a pair of men were arrested and warrants were issued for three others for allegedly preparing for a terrorist attack in Belgium. The arrests followed raids in which 16 people were detained, which Belgian law enforcement officials said was the result of “working with U.S. authorities to monitor suspects’ communications on WhatsApp Inc.’s messaging service,” Bloomberg’s Gaspard Sebag reported. The police investigation began after they obtained information about a man who had returned to Belgium after fighting as a jihadi in Syria. Ars reached out to WhatsApp and to Facebook, which completed its acquisition of WhatsApp in October. A spokesperson from Facebook declined to comment on the matter. But WhatsApp began providing end-to-end (E2E) encryption of its messages last November with the incorporation of security researcher Moxie Marlinspike’s WhisperSystems encryption protocol  TextSecure. In theory, if TextSecure were in use by the alleged terrorists, the content of their messages would have been very difficult to read; the TextSecure protocol continuously changes pairs of encryption keys with each new message. But it’s uncertain that the messages were encrypted—particularly since E2E encryption is not supported by the Apple iOS version of WhatsApp, and group messages and images aren’t supported by TextSecure yet. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Intercepted WhatsApp messages led to Belgian terror arrests

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