How to verify whether a website is legitimate or not?:

viernes, 26 de febrero de 2016

Must the Internet providers block sites offering counterfeit items?

Luxury brands Cartier and Montblanc won recently a U.K. court ruling that orders Internet providers to block websites selling counterfeit goods including watches and pens. [Source Bloomberg.]

While this is not the correct approach to go but instead the Prada one is the way to go. This open an interesting debate?: Must the Internet providers block sites offering counterfeit items?

Net neutrality is the key issue here. In US the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) promotes a strong Net neutrality to keep the Internet open and free with statements like below pointed out on May 2010:
The FCC introduces strong net neutrality protections that said internet service providers could not block websites or impose limits on users. In December, the FCC would go on to pass a final version, adopting their first-ever rules to regulate Internet access. [Source Whitehouse.]

In Europe, the European Commision is in charge of the Net Neutrality, but with some issues.

This is an old debate about whether the ISPs should block access or not to content such as:
  • Adult websites
  • Terrorism propaganda
  • Intelectual property infringement (a.k.a: FAKE websites)

Now with news like those pointed out at the beginning of this article the debate is open:

 Must the Internet providers block sites offering counterfeit items?

What is your position on this matter?

Disclaimer: All the websites requested to be block by Cartier and Montblanc are available on the private feed.

martes, 9 de febrero de 2016

What happens to a website when their owners are not using it anymore?

Mammut is a Swiss company specialized in mountain sports. Personally I was not familiar with this brand, but thanks to the project a vast amount of brands, being counterfeited in the black corners of Internet, have become known for me.

 Mammut logo

While doing some research about the Mammut brand in order to add it to the service, I come across the below web domain:

Created on 2012-02-09, expired TODAY and registered through a proxy as it’s common on this activities to not disclose owner details:
which shows (at the time of this writing) a tipical 'access denied' message as below:


You don't have permission to access /quickstart.html on this server.
Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

And based on this linkedin page, the above domain belongs to an Architecture and Planning company located in New York, without much activity lately as their last twitter was on 10. Jun 2014.

But then the thing is that such a web domain has some indexed resource such as:

Mammut keywords in the site

With several misconfigured mammut links pointing to a vast amount of FAKE websites targeting to the main fashion brands such as:

Gucci FAKE website

Tiffany FAKE website

Moncler FAKE website

NFL FAKE website

Louboutin FAKE website

RayBan FAKE website

and even fashion FAKEs hoverboards

UGG FAKE website taken down

The above examples are just a few sites to give you an overview of the size of this knock-off luxury campaign which target to many luxury brands at once. But of course there are more roles involved on campaigns like this such as spammers either on twitter:

Notice the change when the twitter account is mentioned

or in the below google search (which at the time of this writing has no results anymore. -Well done Google.):

“link: mammut“

The above google search did show hundreds of results with websites either compromised (due to old Joomla versions..) or spammed with comments to distribute this massive spam campaign of knock-off luxury products. 

This knock-off luxury online campaign does show how this online counterfeit business operate in a conglomerate of entities linked between them with different roles and ramifications as pointed out  in this Google research.

By collecting information from all the above FAKE websites there are email address and more information which is useful to track more FAKE online campaigns from the same actors. I tried to contact with some of the targeted brands but the communication was not successful so this article is just to let you know how this business operate online and to let you know what happen with a web domain which is not used anymore by their owners but it remains still active: it will be used by the bad guys!!.

If you are a brand representative of any of the brands affected either on this incident or any other online counterfeiting issue, do not hesitate to contact me for further details and cooperation.