Europol Seizes 690 Domains In Cyber Monday Crackdown

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Cyber Monday sellers pushing counterfeit goods taken offline by Europol and international partners

Europol, along with othr law enforcement agencies round the world, has shut down 690 domains allegedly being used by crooks to sell counterfeit goods.

The Transatlantic 3 operation, also known as Project Cyber Monday IV, has seen 297 domain name seizures in the US, with another 393 in Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. A similar Europol project last year saw 132 domains seized.

Europol fighting counterfeit crooks

The City of London Police were involved in the operation, alongside a host of other law enforcement agencies from across the globe.

Visitors to any of the sites will now see a notice informing them the site has been seized as part of Transatlantic 3, as seen belowCounterfeit goods - Shutterstock - © Sam72

“Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday spirit of shoppers around the world and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere,” said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director John Sandweg.

“Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites.”

Yet taking down the industry, or even disrupting it in a significant way will prove tricky. “In a market economy there will never be a complete fix – when goods have a value there will always be someone seeking to exploit consumer demand for those goods by selling apparently the same thing more cheaply,” Mark Owen, partner in the Trade Marks, Copyright & Media team at law firm Taylor Wessing, told TechWeekEurope.

“What the regulators are doing is seeking to use the same technology which the pirates are abusing in order to impede their activities. However, it’s like the police moving on unauthorised street vendors on Oxford Street – they simply pack up and move a little further down the road.

“Some arrests may well take place but the resources required to shut down a lot of websites after trap purchases may be a lot less than an equal number of individual prosecutions.  In addition, the websites closed down have been located in a  number of countries, and so coordinating arrests and prosecutions becomes even harder.”

europol-ice-operations

 

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