General News

Leaked documents and videos reveal how Anom, an encrypted messaging company used by criminals around the world, worked

Posted: Dec 3, 2021 03:31 GMT

Vice magazine obtained internal videos, documents and files exposing the company’s bureaucracy and structure and revealing that its employees had no idea that the app was being monitored by the FBI and Australian Police.

Joseph Cox, a journalist for Vice magazine, shared a video on his Twitter account on Thursday that allows take a look inside Anom, an encrypted messaging company whose ‘app’ was used by members of hundreds of organized crime groups around the world, while actively helping the FBI and the Australian Police to track down some of their clients.

Among other images, you can see multiple mobiles connected by cables to two computers, while a company employee installs custom Anom ‘software’ on them, and then sends the devices by mail to their users, reports the media.

The journalist detailed in his Twitter account that he obtained videos, documents and internal files that expose the bureaucracy and the structure of the company and reveal that his employees had no idea that the app was being watched by the authorities.

“We were never told this project was going to be in the middle of that,” a developer working for Anom explained to Vice. He noted that the company’s management assured them that their clients were business. “Those are our clients. That’s what they told us,” he added, underlining that “I had no suspicions that it could be used by any organization like the FBI.”

According to court records, several years ago the creator of Anom, a convicted drug trafficker, offered his platform to the FBI so that that agency would have free access and use it for its investigations, an offer that would have been made during the early stages of the creation of the company. The authorities and the businessman later introduced a function to surreptitiously intercept messages from users.

How did Anom work?

Although the Australian Federal Police declared last June – after having arrested 224 criminals in every state on the mainland, in a joint operation with the FBI – that law enforcement had been “running” the company, Cox now pointed out that the found documents complicate this story and show that in reality the company seemed to operate somewhat autonomously.

Australia and the FBI arrest hundreds of criminals after fooling the criminal world with an encrypted black market 'app'

A video obtained by the journalist revealed that Anom distributors could enter a panel that showed all devices sold, along with the IMEI number of each phone, the remaining subscription time, the user’s nickname, the country in which the person was located and the agent who dealt with that specific client. In addition, they could assign specific customers to agents and use the dashboard to generate a report of their work.

Another document discovered by the outlet showed the number of phones sent to different distributors of the company: 200 to a seller in Australia, 60 to another in Sweden, 10 to New Zealand, and so on. In addition, the file includes the username of the distributor on the Anom platform and the type of phone that was shipped, such as a Pixel 4a. Some documents revealed specific addresses the company sent the phones to, including locations in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Altogether, the new data obtained by Vice showed that Anom also functioned as its own entity, with systems to keep track of your sales, lists of resellers and the countries in which they operated, and support to help customers. That, apart from the secret that was hidden from its staff, that the FBI and the Australian Police used the system to monitor users.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment