The FBI uses ANOM messaging apps to trick criminals into “hit organized crime”

Authorities in Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Europe said Tuesday that they had hit organized crime after being tricked into using a messaging app secretly run by the FBI by hundreds of criminals. According to the criminal organization, an encrypted app called ANOM wasn’t supposed to be stolen, but in fact, authorities have spent months with millions of drug smuggling, money laundering, and even murder plans. I was watching the message.

The app was part of a global attack called Operation Trojan Shield, led by the FBI and involving the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Europol, and law enforcement agencies in more than 12 countries. Europol said police in a total of 16 countries carried out attacks triggered by evidence from smartphones monitored by the FBI.

Approximately 9,000 police officers have been arrested and searched more than 700 locations in the last 48 hours, according to the FBI and the Southern California District Attorney’s Office. According to the FBI, more than 32 tons of narcotics, including cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and methamphetamine, were confiscated along with 250 firearms and $ 48 million in various world currencies. More than 50 secret drug laboratories, including one of Germany’s largest secret laboratories, have been dismantled and a total of 800 people, including 500, have been arrested in the last 48 hours, according to US officials.

“The results are amazing,” FBI Deputy Director Calvin Shivers told Europol headquarters in the Netherlands on Tuesday morning.

The Federal Attorney’s Office in Southern California filed an indictment on Tuesday, indicting 17 foreign defendants who controlled or distributed the device for extortion. Eight of the defendants were detained on Monday night and the remaining nine are considered fugitives, officials said.

“Operation Trojan Shield is an innovation in the ongoing and evolving complex problems that law enforcement agencies face every day: how to break into closed encrypted communications devices that are used exclusively for criminal activity. It was a typical approach. ”FBI’s San Diego bureau.

Turner said criminals often use encryption to communicate under a “secret cloak”, hampering law enforcement’s ability to detect crimes before they occur. It was. She said the investigative team tried to take advantage of the need for closed cryptographic devices for criminals, which she called a “serious vulnerability” for criminals.

A Google Pixel smartphone seized by New Zealand police during an arrest and seizure conducted as part of an international Trojan horse shield law enforcement effort.

Distributed to New Zealand Police via Reuters

The FBI states that it has provided approximately 12,000 devices to more than 300 criminal organizations in more than 100 countries. Agence France-Presse AFP reported that Shivers said devices containing the ANOM app had been distributed for almost two years, allowing agents to “monitor their communications.”

“ANOM distributors, administrators, and agents were so confident in the confidentiality of their devices that they were open to other potential users, just as criminals designed for criminals. It was on sale, “said Randy Grossman, Deputy Federal Attorney for the Southern District of California. “But the device was actually operated by the FBI.”

Australian officials have said that the app is installed on lean phones and its popularity is organic among criminals after being guaranteed by a well-known underworld person called a “crime influential person”. According to Reuters, the gang believed the system was secure because the phone had no other features such as voice or camera, and the app was encrypted. According to the news agency, Australian Federal Police Secretary Reese Carshaw said the communication was brazen and did not use codewords to hide criminal plans.

“We are behind organized crime,” Kershaw said. “They are talking about drugs, violence, beating each other, and innocent people being killed.”

Australian officials have announced that they have arrested 224 people and seized more than four tons of drugs and $ 35 million. New Zealand police said they had arrested 35 people and seized millions of dollars worth of drugs and assets.

In a video provided by the New Zealand Police on June 7, 2021, arrests in New Zealand made possible by international law enforcement activities made possible by the FBI hacking an encrypted mobile messaging app called An0m. And during the seizure, you can see the cash seized from the suspected criminal organization.

Distributed to New Zealand Police via Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that this was a turning point in keeping the country’s community safer.

“Today, the Australian government has hit hard against organized crime as part of a global operation,” Morrison said. “It will resonate with organized crime not only in this country, but around the world.”

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the puncture wound, called “Operation Ironside” in Australia, resulted from a long-standing partnership between his agency and the FBI. He said he had six secret laboratories. He said he had blocked 21 killing notices, including closing the house and saving a family of five.

“We have frustrated serious and systematic crimes by arresting the royal road suspects behind these crimes, preventing mass shootings in the suburbs, and seizing unfairly earned wealth. “Kershaw said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses media after a massive assault on organized crime across Australia
Australian Federal Police Assistant Nigel Ryan discusses Operation Ironside with journalists on June 8, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.

Evo / Getty

Greg Williams, head of the New Zealand Police Group fighting dead organized crime, said he thought he was stabbed in 2018 after the FBI removed Phantom Secure, a former secure app that criminals loved to use. Told.

Williams said he left a gap in the market that helped authorities fill the ANOM app.

“We can’t talk enough about the FBI and the work they’ve done here,” Williams said.

He said New Zealand is a small country and relies on the intelligence-gathering capabilities of Five Eyes partners, including the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to a statement by Linda Starf, head of the Swedish National Crime Intelligence Agency, Swedish police believed they had stopped 12 planned murders and arrested several “major actors in the crime network.” Yes.

Finnish police announced on Tuesday that nearly 100 people were detained and more than 500 kilograms of drugs, dozens of guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash were seized.

German officials announced Tuesday that police had arrested more than 70 suspects and searched numerous sites as part of a global crackdown. According to the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office, the raid on Monday was predominantly in Hessen.

Prosecutors reported that police seized hundreds of pounds of drugs, more than 20 weapons, dozens of luxury cars, more than $ 250,000 in cash and IT equipment, Reuters reported.

In March, Belgian police arrested dozens of people after cracking another encrypted chat system and seizing more than 17 tons of cocaine.

The latest surgery has gone a step further.

“The success of Operation Trojan Shield is the result of tremendous innovation, dedication and unprecedented international cooperation,” Shivers said.

Clare Hymes contributed to this report.

The FBI uses ANOM messaging apps to trick criminals into “hit organized crime”

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