Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | CEO who sold phones with “totally unbreakable encryption” takes plea deal

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Good day eh —

Phantom Secure’s Vincent Ramos to be sentenced soon; colleagues remain at large.


Hexbyte - Tech News - Ars Technica | Article intro image

The Canadian executive of a 10-year-old company that marketed its purportedly secure BlackBerry services to thousands of criminals (who paid at least $4,000 per year, per device) has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge, federal prosecutors in San Diego said Tuesday.

Vincent Ramos admitted that his company “facilitated the distribution” of hard drugs around the world by providing hardened BlackBerry devices “designed to thwart law enforcement.”

In October 2016, for example, the company advertised: “Phantom Secure is a high-end communication service designed for sophisticated and exclusive executives who need an effective and proven solution for their mobile concerns,” adding, “No identification is required for purchase.”

As the Department of Justice said in a Tuesday statement:

To keep the communications out of the reach of law enforcement, Ramos and others maintained Phantom Secure servers in Panama and Hong Kong, used virtual proxy servers to disguise the physical location of its servers, and remotely deleted or “wiped” devices seized by law enforcement. Ramos and his co-conspirators required a personal reference from an existing client to obtain a Phantom Secure device. And Ramos used digital currencies, including Bitcoin, to facilitate financial transactions for Phantom Secure to protect users’ anonymity and

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