For years, people involved in organized crime have been using ANOM, a messaging platform boasting total secrecy for whatever you might be doing with it. Unfortunately for them, ANOM was created by the FBI, and 800 of them just got collared.
Drugs, weapons, luxury vehicles and cash were also seized in the operation, which was conducted across more than a dozen countries. This included eight tons of cocaine, 250 guns and more than $48m (£34m) in various worldwide currencies and cryptocurrencies.
The FBI began operating an encrypted device network called ANOM, and covertly distributed devices with the chat app among the criminal underworld via informants. The idea for the operation came after two other encrypted platforms were taken down by law enforcement agencies, leaving criminal gangs in the market for new secure phones. The devices were initially used by alleged senior crime figures, giving other criminals the confidence to use the platform.
The best part? The special phones could only talk to one another and you had to get one from someone in the know. The whole thing was essentially a social hack preying on the misplaced belief that obscure proprietary technology is the most safe and secure.