Possible error in IronChat encryption

For some time, police departments in the eastern provinces of the Netherlands were able to observe the messages exchanged via IronChat, an encrypted chat service. That made it possible to arrest various members of a drug ring. So how were the police able to access the encrypted chats? Frank Groenewegen, Chief Security Expert at Fox-IT, told De Telegraaf: “A minor error may have crept in when the chat service was being designed.”

According to Groenewegen, that is the most likely possibility. “You can put fifteen locks on a vault door, but if the hinges come loose and the door falls off, you’ll be able to get in anyway.” Other possibilities are that the police have managed to break the algorithm behind IronChat, or have assumed control of the servers used by the makers of the chat service.

Fox-IT: “Nice job of investigating”

Groenewegen considers the latter two scenarios to be less likely, but regardless of how the police achieved the results, it is still “a nice job of investigating”, according to the cybersecurity expert at Fox-IT.

Frank Groenewegen

Chief Security Expert
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