Law enforcement authorities across the globe gathered intel with the help of an encrypted communication app created by the FBI and marketed to the criminal underworld.
According to authorities, the Anom app was created by the FBI and marketed to a criminal target audience.
The marketing strategy included outreach to organized criminals, including drug traffickers, money launderers, and alleged assassins.
The FBI reportedly paid contractors in Australia to create a backdoor into encrypted messages within the Anom app.
Users of the Anom application felt at peace writing about their alleged criminal activity as authorities say users were confident their data was encrypted and, more importantly, secure.
Evidently, the messages were encrypted, but all communication was shoveled over to authorities for viewing.
This global operation involved 17 countries and was deemed by the United States as “Trojan Shield.” The encrypted app provided law enforcement officers easy access to alleged drug cartels of South America and other criminals across the world.
The Trojan Shield operation involved over 9,000 officers that gathered intel on reportedly 27 million messages transmitted through the Anom app.
According to authorities, the top users were located in Australia, Serbia, Spain, Netherlands, and Germany.
Authorities say users shared not only textual messages but images of their alleged criminal activities.
The Anom app reportedly snowballed into success because of the endorsement of Hakan Ayik, one of Australia’s most wanted criminals.
After diligent investigations, authorities reportedly conducted raids in multiple countries, making hundreds of arrests and locating cocaine, meth, hashish, firearms, luxury vehicles, and “more than $48 million in cash and cryptocurrencies.” (The Washington Post)