Massive Cyber Bust A Score For Cyber Monday

15/12/2013 23:35
As Cyber Monday ‘scores’ go, it was a pretty big one but certainly not the kind of bargain shoppers were seeking. Law enforcement experts from around the globe shut down over 700 websites suspected of selling illegal or counterfeit goods in what’s being dubbed Project Cyber Monday IV.

A total of 297 sites in the US were shuttered. On this side of the pond, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) lead the charge partnering with 10 European agencies and officials in Hong Kong. It’s the fourth annual cyber bust effort and each year the goal is to reduce two risks—theft of intellectual property and financial fraud.

“Working with our international partners on operations like this shows the true global impact of IP (Intellectual Property) crime,” said ICE Acting Director John Sandweg. “Counterfeiters take advantage of the holiday season and sell cheap fakes to unsuspecting consumers everywhere. Consumers need to protect themselves, their families, and their personal financial information from the criminal networks operating these bogus sites.”

While any sort of goods can be counterfeited, popular targets are often sports jerseys, electronic accessories, luxury goods like watches and sunglasses and toys. The bargain prices are the hook but in addition to shoddy goods, shoppers often wind up at higher risk for identity theft too.

The agencies involved now have custody of the 706 domain names seized. Visitors typing those domain names into their browsers will find an alert that explains the seizure and contains educational information about the crime of copyright infringement.

The ongoing effort—Operations In Our Sites—has shut down over 2,550 sites since it launched in the summer of 2010. An estimated 122 million viewers have visited the sites and seen display banners stating why each site was shut down.

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