Raids worldwide as police reveal vast hack of criminal encrypted phones - global

Raids worldwide as police reveal vast hack of criminal encrypted phones - global

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

Australian Federal Police said on Tuesday it had seized 3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 weapons and nearly $45 million in cash as part of the operation.

The seeds of the sting were sown in 2018 when law enforcement agencies took down a company called Phantom Secure that provided customized end-to-end encrypted devices to criminals, according to court papers. An app called ANOM that was installed on modified mobile phones.

The major worldwide sting involved a system called Anom that was secretly being monitored by law enforcement. This app not only gave the security agencies access to the plans of the criminals but it also gave them access to their whereabouts.

ANOM didn't take off immediately.

On Monday, June 7, 2021, law enforcement agencies from Europe, Australia, and the US organized in-house searches and arrested hundreds of criminal suspects.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the investigation has also led to the initiation of "dozens of public corruption cases". "The FBI and our worldwide partners continue to push the envelope and develop innovative ways to overcome these challenges and bring criminals to justice", said FBI's Assistant Director of Criminal Investigative Division Calvin A. Shivers.

The investigation, led by US, Swedish and Dutch officials, was based around a communication service called ANOM, which grew to service 12,000 encrypted devices used by 300 criminal syndicates in more than 100 countries, Europol said on Tuesday.

"This is a watershed moment in Australian law enforcement history", he added. "They are talking about drugs, violence, beating each other, and innocent people being killed".

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To book an appointment online, these individuals must already be 12 years old as of the date of their booking. Schools have been closed to most students since April after the delayed spring break.

"Criminal groups using encrypted communications to thwart law enforcement should no longer feel safe in that space", FBI San Diego Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jamie Arnold said in a news release about the operation. Agencies not only developed a tool but also developed a process of gathering and sharing intelligence. In reality, the Anom app would relay to federal investigators a copy of every message sent.

AFP Commissioner Reese Kershaw thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its cooperation with the 18 countries that worked with AFP to maintain the integrity of the platform.

They say the number of active ANOM users was only 3,000 until Sky, one of the platforms previously used by criminal gangs, was dismantled in March. Of all of those detained, they primarily face charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, gun violations, and violent crime.

It was that trust - along with drug shipments and other illegal activities - that law enforcement agencies were hoping to disrupt. In Sweden, the police arrested 155 people on suspicion of serious crimes and prevented the killing of 10 people, the authorities said in a statement. More than 500 kilograms of drugs, many guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars were seized.

More than 800 suspected gangsters and $ 148 million in cash have been confiscated in raids around the world, along with large amounts of drugs, cryptocurrencies, weapons and luxury cars.

German police said more than 70 people were arrested Monday and drugs, money and weapons were also seized.

In Australia alone, 224 people have been charged as part of the operation, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison said had "struck a heavy blow against organised crime - not just in this country, but one that will echo around organised crime around the world".

Kershaw said a person in Australia's underworld who had fled the country "essentially set up his colleagues" by distributing phones.

Although the authorities have cracked or shut down encrypted platforms in the past - such as one called EncroChat that the police in Europe successfully hacked - this is the first known instance in which officials have controlled an entire encrypted network from its inception.

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