Operation IOS X: Capturing Counterfeits and Con Artists in a Digital Age

As consumers become more acquainted with the online marketplace, so are cybercriminals in selling counterfeit goods.

Operation IOS X: making the internet safer for consumers

As 2019 ends, over 30,000 domain names for websites distributing counterfeit and pirated items over the internet will have shut down this year thanks to a joint investigation by Europol and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre, facilitated by Eurojust and INTERPOL. The confiscated goods include:

  • Counterfeit pharmaceuticals
  • Illegal television streaming devices, music, software, electronics
  • 26,000 luxury products including clothes and perfumes
  • 363 liters of alcoholic beverages


In addition, three suspects were arrested by officials while more than €150 000 in bank accounts and online payment platforms were identified and frozen.

Operation IOS X is a continuation of ‘In Our Sites’ (IOS), a recurrent joint global operation which was first launched in 2014 and aims to make the internet a safer place for consumers. In 2017 over 20,000 internet domain names were shut down, while more than 33,000 internet domain names were taken down in 2018. According to the Global Brand Counterfeiting Report 2018, losses suffered due to online counterfeiting globally amounted to USD 323 billion, of which more than USD 30 billion were for luxury brands.


Are you minding your own business?

Fighting the counterfeit and piracy battle is a worldwide challenge and the internet makes it easy for counterfeiters to win. The consequences range from revenue losses and reduced economic growth to the negative impact on health, safety and trust.  Decreasing online counterfeit activity requires government agencies, businesses and consumers to work together. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the risks and must seize every opportunity to protect legitimate goods and dispel the counterfeits, before they reach the hands of consumers.