The criminal gang thinks their information is encrypted-but the information system comes from the FBI

Law enforcement agencies said on Tuesday that criminal gangs had leaked plans to deliver drugs and murder on a security information system secretly operated by the FBI. They announced a global trapping operation, claiming that it had caused “unprecedented crimes” against organized crime around the world. Blow”.

The operation known as Trojan Shield led to police raids in 16 countries. More than 800 suspects were arrested and more than 32 tons of drugs-including cocaine, marijuana, amphetamine and methamphetamine-as well as 250 guns, 55 luxury cars and more than $148 million in cash and cryptocurrency were seized.

Court documents show that in 2018, law enforcement agencies banned a company called Phantom Secure, which provided criminals with customized end-to-end encryption equipment, which is the seed of the poison. Unlike typical cell phones, these devices do not make calls or browse the Internet—but allow secure messaging. As a product of the operation, the FBI also recruited a collaborator who is developing a next-generation security messaging platform for the underworld, called ANOM. The collaborators designed the system so that the agency can access any message being sent.

ANOM did not take off immediately. However, once other security platforms (mainly EncroChat and Sky ECC) used by criminal gangs to organize underworld drug trafficking and money laundering activities are banned by the police, the gang will look for new platforms in the market, and the FBI’s platform is also ready. In the past 18 months, the agency used unsuspecting intermediaries to provide phone calls to more than 300 groups operating in more than 100 countries.

The intelligence collected and analyzed “enables us to prevent murder. It leads to drug seizures, which leads to the seizure of weapons. It helps prevent many crimes,” Calvin Schiffers, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division, told reporters. Press conference in The Hague, Netherlands.

Watch | How the FBI deceived criminals:

The FBI was able to monitor, track, and eventually arrest hundreds of criminals who thought they were communicating secretly but were actually using FBI apps. 0:44

“Watershed moment”

The Dutch National Police stated that the operation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the participation of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, European Union Police Agency Europol and law enforcement agencies of many countries, which “has caused an unprecedented blow to criminal networks, which is global.” Chief Police Officer Jannine van den Berg.

Australian Federal Police Commander Jennifer Hearst called it “a watershed moment in the history of global law enforcement.”

The ANOM application became popular in criminal circles because users indicated to each other that it was a safe platform. The police have always looked at the shoulders of criminals when discussing crackdowns, drug delivery, and other criminal activities.

“The lack of these encryption platforms created a gap,” Shivers said, initially to cancel applications previously used by the gang. “Therefore, this creates an opportunity for cooperation with our international partners, not only to develop specific tools, but also to develop the process of gathering and disseminating intelligence.”

The court documents stated that the FBI partners effectively created a “blind copy” channel so that every message sent by ANOM users would end up on a server run by the agency.

The document shows that since October 2019, the FBI has catalogued more than 20 million pieces of information from 11,800 devices, of which about 9,000 are currently active, of which Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Serbia are The most active country.

They said that before Sky, one of the platforms used by criminal gangs, was demolished in March, ANOM had only 3,000 active users.

Although it is mainly used for drug trafficking and money laundering, an FBI agent cited in the document said, “High-level public corruption cases [also were] The result was initiated. The agent stated that the goal of Trojan Shield is to “shake the confidence of the entire industry because the FBI is willing and able to enter this field and monitor news.” “

Australian Federal Police Commander Xenia Cotter spoke at a press conference. (Mike Black/Reuters)

The impact of the raid was felt all over the world

Law enforcement agencies from Sweden to New Zealand said the operation had a major impact.

According to a statement by Linda Staaf, head of the Swedish National Criminal Intelligence Service, the Swedish police prevented more than a dozen planned killings and believed that they had arrested several “main participants in the criminal network” “.

The Finnish police said on Tuesday that nearly 100 people have been detained and more than 500 kilograms of drugs have been confiscated, as well as dozens of guns and hundreds of thousands of euros in cash. In Germany, the Frankfurt Attorney General’s Office stated that more than 70 people were arrested on Monday, and drugs, cash and weapons were also seized.

In Australia, the authorities said they had arrested 224 people and seized more than 4 tons of drugs and 35 million U.S. dollars. New Zealand police said they arrested 35 people and seized millions of dollars worth of drugs and assets.

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