How the FBI armed Android Madding with 'Anom' devices

The FBI's Honeypot phones are now popular — and appearing on the secondary market.

Last month, officials revealed that the FBI and the Australian Federal Police were secretly running an "encrypted hardware company" called Anom. The company has sold 12,000 smartphones to criminal syndicates around the world. These devices are described as secure devices, but they are actually Honeypot devices that route all messages to a server owned by the FBI. This was a simple leak of information, but now that it's public, Anom phones are being dumped on the secondary market. This means that we ordinary people will finally take a look at the details of a device with this MP article.

The FBI has been weaponizing what the Android Meding community has been doing for years. Some Android phones have a removable bootloader that allows you to erase the original operating system and replace it with your own operating system, called a custom ROM. Anom device Vice has got the Google Pixel 4a, one of the most compatible devices out there. The FBI custom ROM shows an "ArcaneOS" boot screen, and the Google Android software distribution replaces the FBI's Android theme for Android 10. The FBI's "encrypted" sales message to the alleged criminals was that these were security-oriented devices (so please use them to authenticate your illegal activities!) This includes a fun security theatre. PIN Peering changes the order of the page lock number so that no one can guess your code from the screen points.

Two different interfaces are set up, depending on the type of pin you type into the lock screen. Pin shows one of the most popular but non-functional apps like Tinder, Instagram, Facebook, Netflix and Candy Crush. Most likely, this is to deceive any third party checking your phone.


The second pin enters the phone security section where the three clock apps, calculator, and settings are located. From here, the Calculator app actually opens an Anom login page, which tells the targets was a secure, encrypted way to chat. It's basically the equivalent of a fake book causing the bookcase to slide down and reveal a hidden part. This is a very secret, it must be safe!

With the new knowledge that FBI phones introduced to users as "ArcaneOS," Vice was able to find several other confusing users on the Internet, apparently eventually using second-hand FBI hardware. Here's a forum post by XDA Developers user "mayday175" asking you how to buy a used Pixel 4a with "ArcaneOS" locked in place, and it can't be bought easily. Since no one had heard of this strange operating system, the user sent a treasure trove of screenshots to gain access to it. Mayday writes: “The operating system is ArcaneOS 10. The system update says ArcaneOS 11 is available for download (but if I want to make this problem more difficult, I don’t want to do that)." Wondering how good the FBI is at providing timely updates for Android? “” alt = “ How the FBI weaponized Android Madding with “Anom” Devices > Zoom In/FBI View several settings that allow users to go into the bowels of the phone Or control things like location.Ron Amadeo / Mayday175

FBI hacked phones definitely show the red flags that a tech-savvy user should be able to recognize.When you turn on your Android phone, the first thing to do is check Boot to make sure the operating system has been encrypted by your device manufacturer and make sure it hasn't been tampered with.If the device is confirmed to restart, or because the bootloader is locked or the bootloader is locked again with a tampered program, a message will be displayed during boot In this case, FBI machines display a message titled "Your device is loading another operating system", with a yellow surprise icon and a link to the Google support page at This message is very important. Support page, it is not important if you Do it yourself to install custom ROM or root your device but if you don’t know why this message appears on your device yes then this is a big problem and you should definitely not use the phone. I cannot exaggerate the size of this message. Boot verification is the “first step” of all phone security, and this message indicates that it has been compromised. When this message is displayed, Android will add a 10-second delay to the startup process, and there's also a "Press the power button to pause" message on this page - because if you suddenly see this message, it will follow the path to cancel the launch.

Usually, the correct way to fix a hacked device like this is to upload an official and clean system image from Google, delete the unknown operating system, and install Google Android regularly. Several users reported that it does not work in this mode. ArcaneOS doesn't allow users to unlock the bootloader in developer options, so when the FBI unlocked the bootloader, flashed the Arcane OS, and locked the bootloader, I was pretty much stuck with ArcaneOS. This is a malicious operating system.

The FBI has made minor changes to the Android platform and removed useful Android settings that may reflect the true nature of the device. System settings for apps, storage, and accounts have been removed. There is currently no way to see a list of all software installed on the system, as users may see a suspicious item like "FBI_Spyware.APK". What is installed on the phone is the black box. The FBI has also cleared Location settings, possibly in an effort to prevent users from turning off GPS tracking.

Phones don't seem very useful if you're not interested in group chats with the FBI and some targeted criminals. They don't have the Play Store or the other Google apps, and the other apps don't seem to work, except for the clock and the account app that leads to this chat app.

I'm sure this won't be the last thing we hear from Anom and Arcane. Now that the word is out and there are about 12,000 devices out there, it's likely that the Android Madding community will take some time just to use the FBI Android. Who wants to install it?

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How the FBI armed Android Madding with 'Anom' devices
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