July 25, 2021

International organized crime suffers another setback due to new technologies

In the fight against drug trafficking, we knew “Buying shots”, when the police masquerade as buyers in order to confuse traffickers. Now, due to the technological revolution, they themselves provide criminals, without their knowledge, with encrypted means of communication to collect evidence of their activities. Thanks to this subterfuge and to a vast operation, dubbed “Trojan Shield”, launched by the American FBI, nearly 800 people were arrested all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia via Europe. and the United States.

According to the FBI, the European police agency Europol and several capitals, which revealed, Tuesday, June 8, the details of the investigation, the seizures are up to the case: 8 tons of cocaine, 22 tons of cannabis , 2 tons of methamphetamine, hundreds of guns, dozens of luxury vehicles and nearly 40 million euros in cash and cryptocurrency. In addition, more than a hundred assassinations were reportedly thwarted. Everything was based on a system of communications terminals deemed inviolable encryption (ANoM) sold in more than 100 countries, mainly to criminals. They did not know that the police in 16 countries were receiving copies of the 17 million messages exchanged during the eighteen months of surveillance.

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The fight against organized crime has definitely changed the era. Until now, this fight was in the hands of the courts and the national police, relying on sometimes hesitant cooperation. Today, globalization and the digitization of communications offer potential access, in a single investigation, thanks to the breaking of encryption, to the secrets of several mafias, Asian organized crime unions, drug cartels or even criminal gangs. bikers. This case comes after the recent dismantling of two other encrypted messengers, Sky Global and Encrochat, very popular with the international criminal world.

Digital Trojan horse

It all started in 2018 when the FBI challenged the CEO of Phantom Secure, known for selling encrypted phones to criminal organizations. This file allowed the American services to access an encrypted messaging system under development and to complete it until its commercial launch, in the fall of 2018, in collaboration with several countries, including Australia. Nicknamed ANoM, no one knew its designer was none other than the FBI.

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