October 3, 2023

The global law enforcement “Anom” honeypot operation racked up impressive statistics for the number of criminals tricked into using the encrypted communications service run by the FBI.

Thousands of criminal users wrongly believed themselves to be unobserved in their communication via this service. Eventually, hundreds of criminal organizations were using this platform. It has a good reputation among criminals. They mutually promoted it as the platform to be used for its absolute reliability.

The operation, also led by Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden, and backed by the EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, also delivered another important type of disruption: sowing long-term mistrust and doubt.

Anom was the latest in a long line of services supposedly built by criminals, for criminals, that were in turn used by authorities against criminals.

WhatsApp, Signal not popular

Criminals appear to mistrust mainstream encrypted communications services, perhaps fearing that they have been backdoored or otherwise coopted by law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

With respect to encrypted communications, in recent years many criminals have relied on services that provide subscribers with a customized handset, which allows them to only send and receive text messages and images and has all nonessential functionality – microphone, GPS, headphone socket, USB port – stripped out so the devices can’t be used to surreptitiously survey or track users.

But service after service has been targeted by law enforcement agencies and taken down, from Phantom Secure, Encrochat, Sky ECC. The service administrators also were charged with crimes tied to facilitating the criminal use of their services. Enforcement authorities gained access and monitor the communication within these networks and shared the intelligence with partners resulted in series of arrests

Anom,FBI and Australian Federal Police launched it in 2018 with a handful of users during a beta trial in Australia, before growing to 9,000 active users globally, law enforcement agencies said they were lately having a difficult time keeping up with the quantity of intelligence being generated After the Encrochat and Sky Global takedowns,Anom’s user base dramatically increased.

Final Thoughts

Honeypots plays a major role in red handling the underground culprits . They are getting in the the problem once Honeypot captured them . Trojan Shield will continue to rise with Ransomware services getting caught one by one.

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