The FBI searched Anom phone honeypots using cheap Google Pixel phones

The FBI searched Anom phone honeypots using cheap Google Pixel phones

Tech Highlights:

  • Needless to say, the messaging app touted end-to-end encryption and the phones were decked out with all the other security goodies that come with products from that niche that are popular with shady individuals or privacy nuts. It’s just that FBI made the software, so it could snoop on all communication content therein.Not everyone used the phones for nefarious purposes, of course, and thank fate, as Vice was able to source some of FBI’s handsets remaining in circulation from regular buyers. We otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to learn the brand that the FBI used to get its Anon chat app in the hands of criminals.
    Gangbusting Pixels

  • Being forced to use the FBI’s own encrypted chat network, it was the most effective FBI operation in recent memory. The outcome? The largest underworld bust with oven-ready evidence to support the prosecution’s successful prosecution of the cases. How did the FBI do it? Well, it was all over the press, but the main takeaway is that it created a company that sold phones with a focus on security and privacy, with a preinstalled programme called Anon playing a key role.

Surprise, surprise, it’s Pixel phones! Mostly from the affordable A-line, like Pixel 3a/4a, but still, these are supposed to be secure burners, after all. The Anom-laden phones were sourced by folks who unwittingly came across them on classifieds sites like Craigslist where they were sold simply as a cheap Pixel, without suspecting these are part of the FBI’s honeypot scheme. A bit of reverse engineering showed that they are running a so-called Arcane OS ROM, can’t be flashed with anything else, and have all the markings of a secure phone, such as dual account logging, anonymous messaging, and a secure wipe feature.


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