Australian Intelligence and the FBI have been in control of an encrypted comms platform used by mobsters, drug dealers and other global criminal enterprises. The platform, called “An0m”, was uncovered by a confidential informant who turned it over to the FBI when his previous boss- a seller of encrypted devices to international gangsters called Phantom Secure— was arrested and pled guilty to RICO violations and aiding and abetting in the distribution of cocaine. Through the CI, the FBI was able to tap into a new and upcoming encrypted platform and then insert their own tracking information into it. Unwitting global bad buys then started using the app and thinking that it was completely secure, overtly planned crimes, including drug smuggling, payoffs and talk of hits. More info on this thread:
Per the Daily Beast, Australian intelligence has led to 224 arrests so far, with the FBI giving an update later today.
This could have big implications beyond those using the app as the investigation begins to roll up from the ground level criminals and traces the systems, people and methods used by these organized crime groups.
Update: thanks to user Deep Dark for pointing out more details from a Sydney Morning Herald article– over 800 global arrests worldwide with more to come.
Law enforcement agencies and 9000 officers from across the world became involved in co-ordinated operations linked to the An0m sting.
European Union police agency Europol said there had been 800 arrests worldwide in “one of the largest and most sophisticated law enforcement operations to date in the fight against encrypted criminal activities”.
“Countless spin-off operations will be carried out in the weeks to come,” the agency said in a statement.
FBI criminal investigative division assistant director Calvin Shivers said the operation was a “shining example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement partners from around the world work together and develop state-of-the-art investigative tools to detect, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organisations”.
From 2019 onwards, intelligence gained from the An0m surveillance was used in Australia to help disrupt criminal activities and make about 100 arrests. State and territory police often carried out the arrests and raids, acting on the federal police tips, even if they did not know its origins in the highly sensitive operation.