Law enforcement agencies on three continents on Tuesday revealed a large-scale FBI-led security operation that sold thousands of encrypted cell phones to criminal organizations in the process die Police can follow their messages for years.
Police reports and documents, die presented to the US judiciary and quoted by Vice News reveals an ambitious global plot that has taken a long time to prepare.
What is “Anum”?
ANOME is described as a completely secure encrypted mobile phone that promises the user complete confidentiality when communicating. It’s basically a hacked phone that uses a modified operating system that has removed all normal messaging, telephony or GPS services, die make it trackable.
On the surface, the device looks like a normal mobile phone, but behind a calculator app there is a supposedly “secure” messaging service.
In theory, the phone is working in a closed network – Anum phones can only communicate with other Anom phones die use “military” encryption, die Transmits data through secure or impenetrable proxy servers.
The phones also had a delete button to delete contacts or other locally stored data.
For years, criminal networks have used similar services such as PhantomSecure, SkyGlobal, Sever and Incruchat for planning and communication – and are also used by law enforcement agencies to combat crime.
How did the FBI intervene?
In March 2018, a grand jury indicted Vincent Ramos, CEO of PhantomSecure, who, along with his colleagues, eventually pleaded guilty to a number of drug charges.
Shortly thereafter, a “confidential human source” showed the FBI a next-generation encrypted device – named “Anom” – designed to replace previous systems die discredited, expired, or hacked.
The same source agreed die Devices hacked by the FBI in use a network of black market dealers, die had previously sold “Phantom Secure” to verified or recommended individuals, usually members of organized criminal gangs.
What about the criminals?
In a beta test, 50 “anom” phones were distributed, one of which die most in die Hands of Australian organized criminal gangs.
But word of mouth made these phones popular with criminal gang leaders, die they should have recommended them to their friends.
Anom’s popularity rose in 2020 when European authorities hacked Incruchat, arrested dozens, and after the arrest of Sky Global CEO Jean-Francois Ipe.
In the end, the FBI, Australian authorities and an unnamed “third country” gained access to more than 20 million messages from 11,800 devices in 90 countries.
These phones were especially made in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Serbia popular.
Why was the process canceled?
There is no clear explanation as to why the process has now stopped. However, there can be a combination of uncertainty, legal hurdles and a change in strategy behind this.
Law enforcement did not have real-time access to die Activity, for die the phone has been used. Instead, all messages sent covertly were copied or covertly sent to FBI servers where they were decrypted.
One of the servers was in a third country where die Arrest warrants for die Parties should expire on June 7, 2021. But doubts about the operation began to arise before this period had expired.
In March, WordPress blogger Kan-You-Gis67 published an article, in which it is said that Anom is a “hoax” and that the device he tested “always in Contact “with the servers of Google and data to unsecured servers in Australia and the USA broadcast.
The article, which was later deleted, stated that “a number of IP addresses are associated with various organizations within the Five Eyes Group governments,” to which Australia, die United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, die Exchange information with each other.
In addition, one of the stated goals of Operation Trojan Shield was confidence in undermining encrypted devices, a goal that in large scale can only be achieved if die Operation is made public.
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