An operation led by INTERPOL in conjunction with Europol, the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and law enforcement authorities from 27 EU Member States, among others, saw over 20,520 domain names linked to websites selling counterfeit goods seized and taken down in an operation announced to coincide with the recent Cyber Monday.
The operation was part of the eighth Operation In Our Sites, the first of which occurred in 2014. In the previous 7 operations, 7,776 websites were seized and taken down. The dramatic increase in the number of seizures in the latest operation can be explained by the holistic approach which Europol followed with the aim of making the internet a safer place for consumers, by getting even more countries and private-sector partners to participate.
Taking down websites that are linked to illegal activity, including selling counterfeit goods, is a major challenge to law enforcement bodies and top level domain registries worldwide. As Europol explains, the ability of counterfeiters to remain anonymous and operate thousands of domain names brings significant challenges for both the private sector and law enforcement.
Efforts directed at taking down rogue websites and tracking down the individuals behind them increasingly take more time while it has become increasingly easy to become a victim of counterfeiting.