ANoM traps the underworld, huge success to law enforcers joint operation

ANoM traps the underworld, huge success to law enforcers joint operation


On surface it looks like a normal communication tool, believed to be secured, a communication space used by the organised crime.

The encrypted app – ANoM is today’s major spotlight after the Australian Federal Police-led operation has charged more than one hundred organised crime members developing a world-leading capability to see encrypted communications used exclusively by organised crime.

The encrypted communications – which allegedly included plots to kill, mass drug trafficking and gun distribution – were decrypted from a platform covertly run by the FBI.

Operation Ironside has led to the arrest of 224 offenders on 526 charges in every mainland Australian state.

3.7 tonnes of drugs, 104 number of weapons, $44,934,457 million in cash, and assets expected to run into the millions of dollars, have been seized under Operation Ironside since 2018.

Operation Ironside began almost three years ago and is the Australian component of a long-term, international, covert investigation.

The FBI and AFP targeted the dedicated encrypted communications platform, which was used exclusively by organised crime.

After working in close partnership on Operation Safe Cracking to take down the encrypted platform provider Phantom Secure, the AFP and FBI worked together to fill the vacuum.

The FBI had access to a new app, named AN0M, and began running it without the knowledge of the criminal underworld.

The AFP provided the highly skilled-technical staff, and capability to decrypt and read encrypted communications in real time, giving law enforcement an edge it had never had before.

Eventually it leads to this major crime crackdown.


How the ANoM app worked


The app AN0M was installed on mobile phones that were stripped of other capability.

The mobile phones, which were bought on the black market, could not make calls or send emails.

It could only send messages to another device that had the organised crime app.

The devices organically circulated and grew in popularity among criminals, who were confident of the legitimacy of the app because high-profile organised crime figures vouched for its integrity.

“Essentially, they have handcuffed each other by endorsing and trusting AN0M and openly communicating on it – not knowing we were watching the entire time,” Commissioner Kershaw said.

New Zealand Police began working with the FBI on Operation Trojan Shield in January 2020 to monitor the communication of platform users in New Zealand.

Our latest check of the ANoM website shows it has been taken down by the law enforcers.



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