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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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The FBI’s smartphone trap ran on ‘ArcaneOS’

Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo has more details on the fake phones the FBI seeded amongst criminals:

Two different interfaces would launch depending on what PIN you typed in on the lock screen. PIN one would show a bunch of popular but non-functional apps, like Tinder, Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, and Candy Crush. Presumably, this was meant to fool any third parties checking out your phone.

A second PIN would enter what was supposed to be the secure section of the phone, showing three apps: a clock, calculator, and the settings. From here, the “calculator” app actually opened a login screen to Anom, which targets were told was a secure, encrypted way to chat. This was basically the smartphone equivalent of a fake book triggering a bookshelf to slide over, revealing a secret passage. It’s so secret, it has to be secure!

I love this story so much. It kind of reminds me of the “secret” games and programs you could install on your graphing calculators back in the day.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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