XDA Developers is a well known site among geeks, as it hosts a forum with detailed information on custom ROMs and other topics on mobile devices. A user had asked Help to remove the operating system of his Pixel 4a and install the official version of Android. After a few days it turns out that one was installed on the smartphone backdoor dell’FBI.
Smartphone con app Anom
An international police operation was completed last June which allowed for arrest over 800 criminals in different countries. Undercover agents of the FBI had created a company that sold very special smartphones: instead of traditional applications, the app was installed Anom which allowed criminals to send encrypted messages. It was actually one backdoor. The FBI used a master key to decrypt and then record communications among the criminals arrested.
When the operation became public, some smartphones were sold online. One of them was bought by the user of XDA Developers. The installed operating system is ArcaneOS. There are no Google Play Services (therefore not even the Play Store) and it is not possible to unlock the bootloader to install the stock version of Android. An analog Pixel 4a was purchased from Vice.
After unlocking the smartphone with a PIN, the icons of some known apps are shown, but none of them work. Resetting the smartphone and using another PIN only shows three apps: clock, calculator and settings. Tapping the calculator icon launches the app Anom, used by criminals without knowing that messages were being intercepted by the FBI.