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#Encrochat: How the FBI bugged the world of organized crime

Last year, the FBI and 15 other international agencies set up an operation dubbed Trojan Shield. After the fall of ultra-secure telephones and messaging systems like EncroChat and Sky ECC, the criminal networks had turned massively to a society of encrypted telephony called Anom. What their users didn’t know was that it was the FBI that was behind this company.

The dragnet had been enormous, since more than 1,000 members from 300 criminal groups had been arrested. Today, we know more about the functioning of theapplication of encrypted messaging used on more than 12,000 mobiles. The website Motherboard de Vice decompiled the Anom app to get the code that wiretapped all the criminals.

To bypass the encrypted communication, the code duplicated the messages and forwarded them to a phantom contact hidden in the user’s address book. This contact was nothing but the FBI. The code also added a statement GPS to the messages transmitted, which made it possible to geotag the place from which the message had been sent.

And when the statement was not precise, the possible photos shared by the interlocutors made it possible to remove the doubt. What remains surprising is that the code used comes from a messaging system open source. This means that non-FBI developers created this code. But it must be said that Anom existed before the FBI does not secretly get involved in its management and that in-house developers who were unaware of it were unknowingly working on code intended to spy on criminals.



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