- New Zealand police said that after the FBI had dismantled two other encryption services, it began operating its own encrypted device company called Anom.
Devices with the chat app were distributed in the criminal underworld, reported Australian media.
Officers were able to read millions of messages in "real time" describing murder plots, mass drug import plans and other schemes.
"All they talk about is drugs, violence, hits on each other, innocent people who are going to be murdered, a whole range of things," said Australian Federal Police commissioner Reece Kershaw in a press conference.
Updating with some more links. Europol's press release boasts 800 arrests:
- This operation, known as OTF Greenlight/Trojan Shield, is one of the largest and most sophisticated law enforcement operations to date in the fight against encrypted criminal activities. A series of large-scale law enforcement actions were executed over the past days across 16 countries resulting in more than 700 house searches, more than 800 arrests and the seizure of over 8 tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis and cannabis resin, 2 tons of synthetic drugs (amphetamine and methamphetamine), 6 tons of synthetic drugs precursors, 250 firearms, 55 luxury vehicles and over $48 million in various worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies. Countless spin-off operations will be carried out in the weeks to come. Operation Trojan Shield/Greenlight will enable Europol to further enhance the intelligence picture on organised crime affecting the EU due to the quality of the information gathered. This enhanced intelligence picture will support the continued effort in identifying operating high-value criminal targets on a global scale.
Vice also has a good write-up that explains how this operation came to be:
- In 2018, the FBI arrested Vincent Ramos, the CEO of Phantom Secure, which provided custom, privacy-focused devices to organized criminals. In the wake of that arrest, a confidential human source (CHS) who previously sold phones on behalf of Phantom and another firm called Sky Global, was developing their own encrypted communications product. This CHS then "offered this next generation device, named 'Anom,' to the FBI to use in ongoing and new investigations," the court document reads. While criminals left Phantom, they flocked to other offerings. One of those was Anom; the FBI started what it called Operation Trojan Shield, in which it effectively operated a communications network targeted to criminals and intercepted messages running across it.
Swedish police says there's been 155 arrests so far and they claim to have stopped ten or so murders. We have some big ongoing trials following the Encrochat infiltration, it's going to be interesting to see what will come of this.