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Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by fergie001: 1:03pm On Jun 08
Operation Trojan Shield: "World's most sophisticated" sting

Law enforcement agencies from Australia, Europe, New Zealand and US reveal vast 3-year global operation to infiltrate encrypted phones with violent criminal groups, resulting in hundreds of arrests.


Police arrested more than 800 people worldwide in a huge global sting involving encrypted phones that were secretly planted by the FBI, law enforcement agencies said Tuesday.

Officers were able to read the messages of global underworld figures in around 100 countries as they plotted drug deals, arms transfers and gangland hits on the compromised ANOM devices.

The evidence from "Operation Trojan Shield" prevented around 100 murders and foiled several large-scale drug shipments, said officials from the FBI, the EU's police agency Europol and other countries as far afield as Australia.

"The results are staggering," FBI Assistant Director Calvin Shivers told reporters at Europol's HQ in The Netherlands.

He said the FBI had provided criminal syndicates in over 100 countries with the devices over the last 18 months "that allowed us to monitor their communications."

Europol said police from a total of 16 countries launched raids on the basis of evidence from the phones, around 12,000 of which were distributed worldwide.

"This information led over the last week to hundreds of law enforcement operations on a global scale from New Zealand to Australia to Europe and the USA, with impressive results," said Jean-Philippe Lecouffe, Deputy Director Operations at Europol.

"More than 800 arrests, more than 700 locations searched, more than 8 tonnes of cocaine."

- 'Heavy blow' -

Australian police said the supposedly hardened encrypted devices were handed out to operatives within the mafia, Asian crime syndicates, drug cartels and outlaw motorcycle gangs as part of the elaborate FBI-led plot.

In Australia alone, more than 200 people have been charged as part of the operation, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday had "struck a heavy blow against organised crime -- not just in this country, but one that will echo around organised crime around the world".

The operation began after global police work in the past two years disrupted two other major encrypted phone networks used by criminals, Encrochat and SkyGlobal.

"The closure of those two encrypted communication platforms created a significant void in the encrypted communication market," said New Zealand police.

To fill the void, "the FBI operated its own encrypted device company, called 'ANOM'," the New Zealand police added.

The FBI's Shivers said this enabled them to "turn the tables" on criminals.

"We were actually able to see photographs of hundreds of tonnes of cocaine that were concealed in shipments of fruit, we were able to see hundreds of kilos of cocaine that were concealed in canned goods," Shivers said.

According to unsealed court documents cited by US media outlet Vice, the FBI worked with insiders to develop and distribute AN0M devices through the Phantom Secure network of existing criminal customers, unloading 50 -- mostly to Australia -- as a "beta test."

- 'They came to us' -

The devices are said to have had no email, call or GPS services and could only message other ANOM phones.

They could only be bought on the black market -- for around $2,000 -- and required a code from an existing user to access.

"They actually came to us seeking these devices," Shivers said.

Australian agencies helped get the phones in the hands of underworld "influencers" -- including an Australian fugitive drug boss on the run in Turkey -- in a bid to gain trust.

The cover appeared to be blown in March 2021 when a blogger detailed AN0M security flaws and claimed it was a scam linked to Australia, the United States and other members of the FiveEyes intelligence sharing network. The post was later deleted.

The Australian Federal Police said that as a result of the operation, a total of 224 people were now facing more than 500 charges in Australia alone, while six underground drug labs were shut down and firearms and Aus$45 million (US$35 million) in cash was seized.

"We allege they are members of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Australian mafia, Asian crime syndicates and serious and organised crime groups," federal police commissioner Reece Kershaw said.

New Zealand Police detective superintendent Greg Williams said 35 people had been arrested across the country.

Police in New Zealand seized methamphetamine, firearms, and millions of dollars in cash and assets during the operation.

ANOM's website -- which once offered "military grade" encryption services and devices with special features like "light and dark" display themes -- was unavailable Tuesday, with a message from authorities that the "domain has been seized."

AFP

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Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by fergie001: 1:05pm On Jun 08
Law enforcement agencies from three continents on Tuesday revealed a vast FBI-led sting operation that sold thousands of supposedly encrypted mobile phones to criminal organisations and intercepted their messages for years.

Police accounts and unsealed US court documents, first cited by Vice News, reveal an ambitious worldwide plot that was years in the making.

What is ANOM?

ANOM was billed as a fully secure encrypted mobile phone that promised the user total secrecy in communications.

Essentially it was a jailbroken handset that used a modified operating system - removing any of the normal text, phone or GPS services that would make it trackable and traceable.

On the surface, the device would look like a normal mobile phone, but it contained a "secure" messaging service hidden behind a functioning calculator app.

In theory, the phone operated on a closed network - ANOM phones could only communicate with other ANOM phones using "military grade" encryption that transferred data via secure proxy servers.

The phones also contained a kill switch to delete contacts or any other data stored locally.

Similar services like Phantom Secure, Sky Global, Ciphr, and EncroChat have for years been used by criminal networks for planning and communication -- and many have been exploited by law enforcement.

Where did the FBI come in?

In March 2018 Phantom Secure's CEO Vincent Ramos was indicted by grand jury and along with colleagues would eventually plead guilty to a raft of charges related to drug trafficking.

Shortly after that, an unnamed "confidential human source" presented the FBI with a next-generation encrypted device - that would be dubbed ANOM - which was designed to replace discredited, defunct or infiltrated systems.

The same source agreed to disseminate the now FBI-compromised devices among a network of black market distributors who had sold Phantom Secure to carefully vetted or vouched-for individuals, usually members of organised criminal gangs.

Why did criminals buy it?

Initially, 50 ANOM phones were distributed in a test run, mostly to members of Australian organised criminal gangs.

But through word of mouth they gained in popularity with criminal underworld figures, who reportedly recommended them to friends.

Interest in ANOM exploded in 2020 when European authorities rolled up EncroChat, with dozens arrested, and after Sky Global CEO Jean Francois Eap was detained.

In the end, the FBI, Australian authorities and an unnamed "third country" were able to access more than 20 million messages from 11,800 devices in 90 countries.

They were most popular in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Serbia.

Why did the operation stop?

There is no clear rationale given about why the operation stopped now. However a mixture of suspicions, legal hurdles and strategy may have contributed.

Law enforcement did not have real-time access to phone activity but instead, all sent messages were blind copied or 'BCCed' to FBI servers where they were decrypted.

One server was in a third country where the warrant was due to expire on 7 June 2021.

But even ahead of that deadline, suspicions were being raised.

In March "canyouguess67" posted on WordPress that ANOM was a "scam" and that a device he had tested was "in constant contact with" Google servers and relayed data to non-secure servers in Australia and the United States.

"I was quite concerned to see the amount of IP addresses relating to many corporations within the 5 eyes Governments (Australia, USA, Canada, UK, NZ who share information with one another)," the post said before it was deleted.

In addition, one stated aim for "Operation Trojan Shield" was to undermine trust in encrypted devices, a goal that could only be widely achieved when the operation was made public.

SOURCE

1 Like

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Eazi1(m): 1:06pm On Jun 08
FBI working great against criminal



Nigeria soldier working great for criminal

90 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by airminem(f): 1:24pm On Jun 08
Thats WOW!

7 Likes 1 Share

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Righteousness2(m): 1:48pm On Jun 08
Just Imagine the wisdom of men to get at fellow men engaged in evil.

Now imagine what GOD ALMIGHTY, the CREATOR and ANCIENT of the Days knows about everyone of us.
The thickest of Darkness is Light before HIM. There is no means to Hide from HIM.

May GOD give us Understanding to understand these things so we will know and understand how to live this life.

53 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by brosom(m): 4:11pm On Jun 08
More space for Mr righteousness










Write here grin

42 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by tobtap: 4:11pm On Jun 08
Na wetin dss n Nia suppose dey do be dis.. Infiltrate the bandits n terrorists n expose dem.. But instead.. Dey will be harassing innocent Nigerians..n blocking Twitter

40 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by drizslim(m): 4:11pm On Jun 08
I jus saw 800 , arrested, I thought ipob and zoo army at it again..

As I see first paragraph I no read again

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Sunofgod(m): 4:11pm On Jun 08
Good
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Ohibenemma(m): 4:11pm On Jun 08
That was a smart move! But with this blown open, they need to go back to the strategy laboratories ASAP.
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by AdolfHitlerxXx: 4:12pm On Jun 08
angry
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by brainpulse: 4:12pm On Jun 08
SW1 GREAT
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by baralatie(m): 4:12pm On Jun 08
Omo see criminal ring o!

1 Like

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by pyyxxaro: 4:12pm On Jun 08
Nigeria Security Network nor go reach this level in the next 300years

7 Likes 1 Share

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by osuofia2(m): 4:12pm On Jun 08
BABA BUHARI IS WORKING
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Akwamkpuruamu: 4:13pm On Jun 08
Cybercrime have no end. An evil that has come to stay
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by affable4(m): 4:13pm On Jun 08
Like seriously
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by money121(m): 4:13pm On Jun 08
Ok
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Curious345: 4:13pm On Jun 08
I wish the DSS get this kind sense..

2 Likes

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by prince3009(m): 4:14pm On Jun 08
Kudos to them!

US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand!

Great continents and Countries that have law enforcement agents with integrity who work against criminality!

Nigeria and UAR...shitty country that has crime enforcement agents works with terrorist elements to wreck havoc against her citizens.
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by azraeljaheel: 4:14pm On Jun 08
Really funny


You mean disgraced state security



Curious345:
I wish the DSS get this kind sense..
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by brainpulse: 4:14pm On Jun 08
ozovehe35:
A very USELESS country ruled by senile old fools.

Nigeria is still one of the 30 countries in the world that's still battling with basic amenities in the 21st century...

6TH LARGEST PRODUCER OF OIL IN THE WORLD. The same oil the some Arab countries are using to live like kings and queens...

- WHY CAN'T WE HAVE FUNCTIONING REFINERIES?

- WHY CAN'T WE HAVE CONSTANT ELECTRIC POWER?

They banned cryptocurrencies
They have banned Twitter
Soon, they'll ban protests and order shoot on target of protesters.
Yet, some useless youths are still supporting this olds fools in the name of APC and PDP party members...
What a Shame!

USELESS COMMENTS

1 Like

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by Kandeed: 4:14pm On Jun 08
Nigerian Government would pay workers salary (people's 30days sweat) and see that as an administrative achievement. so many souls are being lost due to poor roads, Bandits are attacking Power staff at Kanji dam, No Light, Farmers need to go to farm to earn and provide food for us to buy but are being hacked in their numbers yet Nigerians see these as something to look over without massive reaction from the people?? God is ready to help Nigeria but what are you doing, what is ur struggle for a better Nigeria for him to bless and assist?? What type of life are you living and what Nigeria do you want to leave behind for ur children unborn?? the same hardship and oppression ur going thr now??

#Dare to make a change
#They did not give you light u got Gen, no water you made
provisions for pure water, no good road u result in
cementing express road urselves, Banned twitter you result
to VPN. how long so you want to continue looking for
alternative??
#The little money you have to spend, you take it to market
and see that amount can't take you past one week
#Our poor farmers can't go to farm in peace without fears of
being hacked
#End insecurity, End economic hardship, End oppression
#Rescue Nigeria from the hands of those bent on destroying
it
#Do not become a slave to fear, what ur living in Nigeria is
not the life of someone who's alive but the life of a near dead
man
#You and I can change things

1 Like

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by wendixx(f): 4:14pm On Jun 08
hmmm...

What an interesting read. So, the FBI gave the criminals what they (the criminals) wanted and in essence entrapped them. Really wise.

WOW! See intelligence na. SMH! and we are here in Naija running after those that drank alcohol and tweeted Chai!! embarassed embarassed embarassed

This is the wisdom of men oh. Can you now imagine the WISDOM OF GOD who gave man brains??

Big criminals can't hide from their fellow men, how much more from the judgment of the Almighty who sees and know all.
FEAR GOD PEOPLE. FEAR GOD! He is Sovereign.

Baba God you too much!!

4 Likes

Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by SWORD419(m): 4:14pm On Jun 08
grin grin grin grin grin ;Dipob inyamiri terrorists wont be happy with this develpoment now that their masters have been arrested, im waiting to see more arrests of inyamiri terrorists tongue
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by SultanOfPuna: 4:15pm On Jun 08
Cool
Re: Operation Trojan Shield: 800 Arrested In Staggering Global Encrypted Phone Sting by bishopkay: 4:15pm On Jun 08
Over here we discuss only cows cows and more cows

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