According to a report, smartphone developers cooperated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and launched the Trojan Horse Shield in 2018, which cost US$120,000 (approximately 8.7 million rupees) plus fees and commutation opportunities. Court documents.

Three years later, the European Union law enforcement agency Europol saw in an investigation involving 9,000 law enforcement officers in 17 countries/regions that the authorities monitored 27 million pieces of information from 12,000 devices in 100 countries/regions, and The activities of more than 300 organized criminal groups were tracked. statement.

Europol said that so far, more than 800 people have been arrested and more than 8 tons of cocaine, 22 tons of marijuana, 2 tons of synthetic drugs, 250 guns, 55 luxury cars and more than $48 million in cash and crypto have been seized. currency. .

It said that more arrests and seizures are expected.

U.S. court documents-an affidavit from an FBI agent, originally published by Vice News-called a “secret officer”, a former drug dealer who has been developing a new encrypted phone with strong encryption, which contains a customized version called ANOM Application, also known as An0m.

After the authorities dismantled the Phantom Secure encrypted smartphone network and arrested its CEO in 2018, the source joined.

According to the police, organized criminal groups have been using mobile phones such as Phantom Secure for at least a decade to organize drug transactions, combat competitors, and launder illegal income without detection. Among the many functions of the phone, if seized, the content can be erased remotely.

But as one model ceases production, the new model will enter a lucrative market.

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The FBI decided to launch its own, inserting the master key into a device attached to each message, and enabling law enforcement officials to decrypt and store them while in transit. A U.S. official said that in the U.S., a six-month subscription costs US$1,700 (approximately 120,000 rupees).

‘Two glasses of beer’

In 2018, Australian police investigators and analysts met with the FBI. “As you know, some of the best ideas come from a few beers,” Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Reece Kershaw said on Tuesday.

Under the stimulus of the authorities, the informant, who was turned from a developer to an informant, used distributors he trusted, and these distributors were targeting the Australian market. They decided to make a soft release in October 2018. The developer only gave the distributor 50 devices for sale. According to the affidavit, they saw “a huge payday” and agreed.

The affidavit stated that because AFP monitors the messages and photos shared on the device, “During the testing phase, 100% of ANOM users use ANOM to engage in criminal activities.” The business grew organically through word of mouth. Soon, overseas criminals flocked to use ANOM phones.

Kershaw said law enforcement officers have unprecedented “advantages.” Among the hundreds of arrests and large quantities of drugs seized, the Australian authorities stated that because of ANOM, they also undermined 21 murder conspiracies, including a massacre.

However, due to “technical issues”, the FBI cannot directly monitor calls in Australia. However, at the end of 2019, a court order that did not specify the country/region where the mobile server was located allowed the agency to access its content in a more timely manner.

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The FBI and law enforcement officials in other countries have found that Italian organized crime, Asian underworld, bicycle gangs, and transnational drug cartels are all users.

The agent’s affidavit and AFP’s Kershaw said that criminals use mobile phones publicly, usually without even using passwords, and often share a large number of drug consignments photos and details of transportation methods.

Among the images shared in the affidavit were piles of illegal drugs and a diplomatic pouch identified in court documents as France, which was said to be used to transport cocaine from Colombia. There is also evidence that government officials and police are corrupt.

The affidavit stated that the criminal group was “informed of the anticipated law enforcement actions.”

“The review of ANOM news has initiated many high-level public corruption cases in many countries.”

The affidavit stated that the March raid against users of Sky ECC, another encrypted phone, witnessed a surge in popularity of ANOM, with active users increasing from 3,000 to 9,000 within a few months.

But on Monday, the expiration of this unspecified country court order marked the end of the torrent of cell phone crime intelligence. The next day, during a series of press conferences around the world, the Trojan Horse Shield Operation was exposed.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discussed everything about encryption on the Advertisement Shout podcast Orbital with Nischal Shetty, CEO of WazirX, and Alok Jain, founder of Weekend Investing. Orbital can be used on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get podcasts.