FBI Expertly Lured And Then Busted Criminal Gangs Using Its ANOM Secure Messaging App
While a push toward privacy is great for the average person, it is also simultaneously great for criminal gangs. Using secure messaging systems, these gangs can secretly communicate plans for drug shipments or killings worldwide. However, if law enforcement is inside these messaging apps, then the criminals can be caught easily. It appears the FBI did exactly that by running a “secure” messaging system leading to the seizure of hundreds of millions in drugs, weapons, cars, cash, and cryptocurrency.
This sting operation saga started in 2018, when law enforcement agencies took down Phantom Secure, which made custom encrypted devices for criminals. In this operation, AP News reports that the “FBI also recruited a collaborator who was developing a next-generation secure-messaging platform for the criminal underworld called ANOM.” This collaborator then gave the FBI a backdoor into ANOM so they could see any messages being sent.
In total, more than 800 suspects are now behind bars, and 32 tons of drugs, 250 firearms, 55 luxury cars, and over $148 million in cash and cryptocurrencies have been seized. While this is not the end of organized crime, it certainly causes issues for criminals worldwide. In the future, no messaging platform is guaranteed to be safe anymore, which makes communication, and therefore criminal activity, much harder.