The FBI and Australian law enforcement set up the encrypted chat service and ran it for over 3 years, seizing weapons, drugs and over $48m in cash.
Law enforcement agencies have been selling encrypted phones to organized crime gangs for years, monitoring their conversations in what’s being called the biggest law enforcement sting ever.
Since 2018, agencies have been overseeing the distribution of hardened, encrypted devices that have enabled them to eavesdrop on crooks. The monitoring of the devices, which are called Anøm, Anom or An0m, has led to a dizzying array of actions.
On Monday, law enforcement agencies from the U.S., Australia and Europe announced that the massive global operation – called Operation Ironside by Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Trojan Shield by the FBI and Europol – resulted in these moves, carried out in 16 countries over the preceding few days:
As the AFP outlined in the video below, for more than a decade, many organized crime syndicates have been dark. They’ve been using end-to-end encryption platforms enabled by customized phones that scramble sent messages which are then unscrambled when a recipient opens them.