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Clever use of encrypted messaging apps slowed down Robert Mueller’s investigation

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On Thursday, a 448-page report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was made available to the public.

In one paragraph of the report, the Special Counsel gave an overview of how the Counsel’s investigation was slowed with associates of President Trump who “used encrypted and ephemeral messaging to hide their activities.”

Part of this report says that the Special Counsel Office learned some of the individuals interviewed were associated with the Trump Campaign.

A section of the report read:

“Deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records.”

The report further said that the Counsel Office was unable to authenticate witness statements “through comparison to contemporaneous communications…”

Mueller wrote the paragraph in reference to the encrypted messaging apps that can delete conversation histories over some time.

It seems some of Trump’s associates knew better and used the best encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and Signal, allowing them to communicate securely and wipe any trace.

Encryption messaging, popularly known as secure messaging, offers end-to-end encryption when sending text messages and prevents third parties from monitoring your conversations.

Meanwhile, Mueller’s report further stated that it wasn’t just those on Trump’s campaign trail that used encryption messaging. The hackers associated with the Russian government and WikiLeaks also knew better, and took efforts to “hide their communications.”

Does end-to-end encryption mater?

Encryption messaging only allows people communicating to read the messages and no other person. This means that not even internet service providers, the government or any party can access the data.

It is the same setback that prosecutors face with suspects using encrypted messaging apps to hide their tracks. For years, investigating agencies have lobbied against encryption, saying that it hinders investigations as police are left to have to do actual police work instead of spying.

When using end-to-end encrypted messaging it’s important to not do a Michael Cohen and then backup those messages to iCloud or Google Drive in an unencrypted form.

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