Since the Paris attacks, intelligence agencies first blamed Edward Snowden and then went on to claim the terrorists were using advanced encryption to avoid capture. However, investigations now reveal that the Isis terrorists behind the 13 November plot did not even try to secure their conversations on the phone. In fact, all they did was hide in plain sight.
After the Isis attack in Paris, Western intelligence officials went to say it was the US' National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden who taught the terrorists "how to avoid being caught".
But new details of the attack have now emerged to show that the suspected mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, in fact communicated using smartphones with no encryption tools, according to The Intercept.
The police were also able to retrieve a trove of information from a phone belonging to another of the Paris attackers. According to French newspaper Le Monde, the location of the safe house in Saint-Denis, where Isis mastermind Abdelhamid Abaaoud was hiding, was also found on the "unencyrpted" phone.
The cellphone also contained an SMS believed to have been sent to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the man who planned both the Paris attack and one that was foiled in Belgium. "We're off; we're starting," said the message.
According to The Telegraph, the police were finally able to track Abdelhamid after analysing the contents of the phone, which suggested he was in Saint-Denis. Paris prosecuters confirmed on Thursday that Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed in the police raid.
Recently, CIA Director John Brennan said leaks and "handwringing" made it a challenging task to track down tech-savvy jihadists, suggesting Isis was using advanced technology to avoid detection.
However, the Paris attackers, it was found, used minimal gadgets. In fact, while they made efforts to avoid surveillance, they often communicated on open channels and all they did was use obsure Moroccan dialects to confuse the listeners, according to RTL Info.