The FBI created a secure messaging company to roll up criminals ↦

Ars Technica’s Jon Brodkin:

The FBI teamed up with Australian Federal Police to target drug trafficking and money laundering. They “strategically developed and covertly operated an encrypted device company, called ANOM, which grew to service more than 12,000 encrypted devices to over 300 criminal syndicates operating in more than 100 countries, including Italian organized crime, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and international drug trafficking organizations,” Europol said today.

Holy cow. That’s kind of brilliant. Why try to compromise a secure network that might compromise the privacy of law-abiding citizens when you can just roll your own?

My personal favorite part is that the messaging app was installed on phones under the guise of a calculator app:

The cellphones sold by the FBI-run company were “procured on the black market” and “performed a single function hidden behind a calculator app: sending encrypted messages and photos,” The New York Times wrote today. The cellphones were “stripped of all normal functions,” with the faux calculator being the only working app.

Your move, James Thomson.

—Linked by Dan Moren

Read more at Six Colors

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