Police in many countries in Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand have described the operation as “the most sophisticated in the world” in the sense that it actually restricts use. Baptized “AN0M” is used by criminals around the world to communicate in an encrypted way.
The operation, known as the “Shield of Troy”, allowed investigators from 16 countries to track down mafias, Asian criminal syndicates or illegal motorcycle gangs. They exchanged views on drug dealing, activities, money laundering or murder plots.
In Australia alone, 224 people have been charged, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, “causing a major blow to organized crime that resonates not only in this country but around the world.”
“Police in the Pocket”
In addition to gaining the ability to decrypt messages in real time, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been successful in encouraging criminals to use AN0M encrypted telephones.
Devices are unable to make calls or verify email and have no GPS data. They allowed messages to be sent to other AN0M phones. They can only be purchased on the black market and contain a code sent by another user.
Australian media have reported that police were involved in drug trafficking and the distribution of phones to known suspects, including an Australian who fled to Turkey.
“One offender had to know another offender to get this material,” Australian police said in a statement.
“As the devices spread and their popularity grew among criminals, they believed in the fairness of the use because key figures in organized crime promised its honesty,” he continued.
“These criminal influencers have put the Australian Federal Police in the pockets of hundreds of criminals,” Australian Police Chief Reese Kershaw said in the statement.
“Ultimately, they trust each other by embracing ANOM and communicating openly with it, not knowing that we are always listening to them,” he said.
The move was the result of the FBI infiltrating similar encrypted communications systems such as “Phantom Secure” and “Sky Global”, which allowed U.S. police to access the communications of tens of thousands of users, including key individuals in organized crime.
“The closure of these two encrypted communication sites has created a vacuum in the market,” New Zealand police said. To fill this void, “FBI has enabled its own encrypted devices, called + AN0M +.”
At the same time, rumors began circulating about the vulnerability of a rival organization called “Cifr”.
It is not immediately clear whether AN0M is the creation of an entire police force, or an organization that has already infiltrated.
The result of a three-year operation in Australia: a total of more than 500 charges against 224 people in Australia now, six pharmaceutical laboratories closed, the size of weapons and the confiscation of A $ 45 million (29 29 million).
“Hundreds of people have been arrested outside Australia,” Australian police said.
In particular, the New Zealand Police announced the arrest of 35 people involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
Europol and the FBI are scheduled to hold a press conference in The Hague at 0800 GMT.