Businessmen, Politicos and Mobsters Prefer Blackberry

Blackberry is among the communication devices of choice for
criminals. They also like Skype.
Back in January of 2012, when the battle was raging for control of the Rizzuto organization, Quebec police cracked one gangland slaying by accessing information on BlackBerry Messengers belonging to those suspected of orchestrating and committing the hit on Salvatore "Sal the Iron Worker" Montagna.

The former acting boss of the Bonanno family in New York had been deported to Canada from the United States in 2009 was residing on the South Shore of Montreal.

As noted on this blog, BlackBerry Messenger are believed to be favored by organized-crime figures due to the device's purportedly unbeatable encryption capability. Businessmen and politicians also are known to prefer the device for this same reason: secure communications.Message encryption and email privacy for users have long been key selling features for the BlackBerry service.

Just recently, the media was reporting that criminals still seem to prefer Blackberry devices for the same purposes. Dylan Welch reported for ABC News: "The phones are linked to a series of the underworld killings that rocked Sydney, several senior law enforcement officials told the ABC on condition of anonymity."

In Montagna's case, the Sicilian gangster from America, last known to have lived with his family in Elmont on Long Island before deportation, had hooked up with an alleged Ndrangheta-backed breakaway faction looking to knock the seemingly rudderless Rizzuto family out of the box for control of the drug rackets in Montreal and New York, when apparently disagreements among different factions of the splinted group led to a botched hit on one man, which was shortly followed by the successful hit on the Iron Worker.

Those who killed the the former acting
Bonanno boss were arrested based on
messages found on their Blackberrys.
The ABC article noted that: the Blackberrys used in Australia were of the Phantom variety and offered scaled down functionality over the typical Blackberry. These devices don't include a microphone and camera, and cannot be used to surf the web, or to send emails, texts or even calls. The Phantom's only capability is sending messages via its proprietary system, which "is protected by military-grade encryption and cannot be hacked even by Australia's electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, said a Government official who declined to be named."

Furthermore, Paul Jevtovic, the acting head of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), told ABC: "Our intelligence would suggest that the most serious of crimes are being facilitated by... encrypted communications. ... We're talking about acts of violence; we're talking about a range of serious crime."

In the Montagna case, the suspects were reportedly surprised to learn that Quebec police had accessed their private communications.

Police would not say whether they cracked BlackBerry's encryption or whether the supplier of the devices had given them access to the secure servers.

According to Blackberry only holds "a fraction of its former market share." The company's CEO,  John Chen, recently said that the company had a 50/50 chance of a "successful turnaround" and that it will focus heavily on business customers for the next two years..."

If the Blackberry were to go belly-up, criminals no doubt will adapt. We've already heard that outlaws also seem to favor Skype.


  1. this does not surprise me a bit.As someone who needed extreme privacy and discrestion in the past i was actually recommended a blackberry solely for its BBM (blackberry messenger feature)and its custom blackberry email add you get (ex: the features came in handy and surprisingly 95% of everyone i met in that buisness used blackberry.Having changed occupations i dont carry a blackberry anymore but still understand that the BBM feature is almost (if not impossible) to hack or penetrate. want privacy? Use a blackberry.


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