Murder plots and mass shootings thwarted by FBI-designed app for global network of criminals

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US and Australian agencies hacked into an app used by criminals and read millions of encrypted messages, leading to hundreds of arrests of suspected...
Australian Federal Police are seen during its Operation Ironside against organised crime in this undated handout photo released June 8, 2021 - REUTERS

organised crime figures in 18 countries, Australian officials said on Tuesday.

The operation by Australian police and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation ensnared suspects in Australia, Asia, South America and the Middle East involved in the global narcotics trade, the officials said.

Named Operation Trojan Shield by the FBI, it was one of the biggest infiltrations and takeovers of a specialised encrypted network.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the operation "struck a heavy blow against organised crime – not just in this country, but one that will echo ... around the world".

"This is a watershed moment in Australian law enforcement history," Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said police raids in 18 countries netted hundreds of suspects. Europol and the FBI said on social media they would hold news conferences later on Tuesday.

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