FBI uses ANOM App to capture more than 800 criminals worldwide

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In what is supposed to be a mobile-based sting operation conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in association with Australian Police, information is out that it led to the arrest of more than 800 criminals that includes 72 most wanted criminals involved in drug mafia, cryptocurrency mining, distribution of ransomware and some X-rated crime involving children.

 

To those uninitiated, here’s the story in detail. Almost 3 years ago, the FBI in a joint operation with the Australian Police launched a messaging app named ANOM that was supposedly meant to offer secure communication to users.

 

But the trick is that it was launched by the Australian Federal Police in disguise as a criminal gang and was aimed at other criminals who were on the lookout for a safe communication platform to conduct their operations.

 

In the past 36 months, ANOM won the trust of many criminals who started to use the platform to disclose all their secrets with their other associates. As a result of which the law enforcement agencies succeeded in arresting over 800 people from 16 countries involved in various crimes.

 

FBI has named the ANOM Sting Operation as ‘Operation Trojan Shield’ and the Australian Federal Unit gave it the name of ‘Operation Ironside’.

 

Note 1- As per the details available to our Cybersecurity Insiders, it all started in March 2018 when the Canadian Company Phantom Secure that offered a highly encrypted messaging app was shut down by law enforcement. As the app was majorly used by drug traffickers to conceal their activities from the police departments, they started to look for alternatives. This is when the Australian Federal unit offered ANOM app that was a sting operation launched to nab criminals. And within just 27 months, many of the criminal activities were caught on the radar by the San Diego-based unit of the FBI.

 

Note 2- In September 2019 the sting operation was joined by Europol as some of the criminals were based in European countries like Sweden, Paris, Italy, Germany, and the UK.

 

Note 3- Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister said that the operation hit hard against organized crime across the world.

 

Note 4- European Union Police Agency named the operation Trojan Shield/Greenlight and stated that it was the world’s biggest law enforcement operation against encrypted communication.

 

Note 5- Over 40 tons of drugs, 250 guns, 55 luxury cars, $48 million worth of currency in various forms of cryptocurrency, and some malware spreading software were seized from the arrested criminals after interrogation say sources.

 

Note 6- The full form of ANOM or the abbreviation of ANOM will be updated shortly after confirmation.

 

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security