Radio Svoboda, сiting the Washington Post, reported that the FBI developed a messaging app that helped to arrest more than 800 people around the world.
The FBI began operating an encrypted device network called Anom and covertly distributed devices with the messaging app among the criminals via informants. In 2018, two encrypted platforms were taking down by the FBI, and the criminals needed a new platform. Undercover detectives duped an Australian drug trafficker Hakan Ayik who promoted Anom to others in his network.Initially, it was used by senior crime figures and then by lower level criminals.
In total, according to the publication, some 12,000 encrypted devices were uses by criminal syndicates in more than 100 countries.
Ukrainian experience of cyberwar
In the context of the news about the FBI success, it will be interesting to recall the experience of ordinary Ukrainian IT volunteers who in 2016 carried out a similar operation to distribute among pro-Russian militants and Russian servicemen a specialized application CropUkrop.
Dozens of Russian websites, propagandists and bloggers, to which the hackers of the Ukrainian Cyber Alliance gained secret access, spread various messages with advice to install the CropUkrop application. Its publicly declared functions were “to DDos sites InformNapalm, Myrotvorets, and other resources.” In fact, this app only simulated DDos-attacks and at the same time discreetly sent information from the aggressor’s smartphones.
In 7 days, more than 2,500 phones were infected and hacked, including phones of not only ordinary fans of the “Russian world” from the occupied territory of the Donbas, but also of militants, Russian servicemen and propagandists from the territory of the Russian Federation. Their data were then used in investigations and intelligence.You can read more about this operation in the article Young IDP from Donetsk created Android app which hacked 2,500 phones of aggressor.
Interestingly, the example of this operation has been repeatedly cited by InformNapalm volunteers in 4 years, both at thematic international conferences on cybersecurity and in informal communication with foreign journalists, diplomats and experts interested in the experience of asymmetric counteraction to Russian aggression in the information domain.
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By Andrii Romanenko specially for InformNapalm. Translated by Svetlana Kemblowski. Distribution and reprint with reference to the source is welcome! (Creative Commons — Attribution 4.0 International — CC BY 4.0)
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