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Monthly Archives: October 2014

£3m Boost for City of London IP Crime Unit

  • October 24, 2014
  • The fight against digital piracy and counterfeit goods was today (23 October 2014) boosted by £3 million of new government funding to the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).

    Minister for Intellectual Property (IP), Baroness Neville-Rolfe announced the government’s funding commitment to the national crime unit at the Anti Counterfeiting Group Conference in London. The unit has now been operating for 1 year and this new funding will cover the next 2 years, up to 2017.

    Baroness Neville-Rolfe said “We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes”.

    City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said “The government committing to fund the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit until 2017 is fantastic news for the City of London Police and the creative industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime.  Since launching a year ago, PIPCU has quickly established itself as an integral part of the national response to a problem that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year. Much of this success is down to PIPCU moving away from traditional policing methods and embracing new and innovative tactics, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for causing huge damages to legitimate businesses”.

    Since its launch in September 2013, PIPCU has delivered significant results. It has:

    • investigated more than £29 million worth of IP crime and has suspended 2,359 internet domain names
    • seized more than £1.29 million worth of suspected fake goods
    • diverted more than 5 million visits from copyright infringing sites to the PIPCU domain suspension page
    • set up Operation Creative, a ground-breaking initiative designed to disrupt and prevent websites from providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, and the Infringing Website List

    The recent IP Crime Group Report, detailing all UK enforcement activity between 2013 and 2014, highlights innovative initiatives used by PIPCU to dismantle and disrupt criminal activity.

    Read more:


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    by Ron

Beware of Malicious Flashlight Apps

  • October 20, 2014

    SnoopWall, a US counterveillance software company released a threat assessment report regarding the top 10 Flashlight/Torch apps in the Google Play Store, and every one of them can potentially be used maliciously.

    Flashlights are simple apps that use your mobile phone screen as a torch.  They are so simple that the size of the app should be kilobytes in size.  If the app you are about to download and install is several megabytes, stop now as it is almost certainly malicious.  If you have already downloaded it then uninstall it immediately and perform a hard reset on your phone after you have backed up important data.  Seek expert advice if you are unsure about what to do.

    Click on the link below for more information:

    Read the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) press release:

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    by Ron

Emma Watson Fake Nude Videos Spreading Malware on Facebook

  • Antivirus solutions provider Bitdefender has warned that fake videos spreading across Facebook are leading to malware infections rather than the promised content.

    The new Facebook scam takes advantage of Emma Watson’s growing popularity, using the actress as bait. It starts with a Facebook comment promising to reveal private or leaked videos of the celebrity.

    The comments are automatically posted by users already infected with the malware. Like many Facebook scams, victims end up as marketers for the fraudsters.

    Copycat website

    If you click on the malicious links, you are redirected to a YouTube copycat website. You are then asked to update your Flash Player, because an error allegedly prevents you from viewing it immediately.

    To make the scam seem more credible, the fake YouTube account uses the Anonymous ‘Guy Fawkes’ mask, which is used by the hacking group often claiming celebrity video leaks.

    Malware changes browser settings

    Besides stealing phone numbers through premium SMS scams, the malware disguised as a Flash Player update also changes your browser settings not allowing you to see your list of extensions and Facebook activity and settings anymore.

    You can get malware on Facebook from things like:

    • Trying to watch a “shocking video” from a post.
    • Visiting a website that claims to offer special features on Facebook.
    • Downloading a browser add-on that claims to do something that’s too good to be true.

    In 2012 Watson held the number one spot in MacAfee’s annual “Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity”.

    Read more on the Bitdefender website.

    Please note: Surelock is not responsible for the content on external websites.

    If you are a victim of fraud you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use Action Fraud’s online fraud reporting tool and receive a police crime reference number.

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    by Ron

Company Director Sold Fake One Direction Goods

  • October 15, 2014
  • 7064340-largeThis case was brought to court following an initial investigation by Surelock.

    A female director of a company based in a village near Bristol has been given a suspended prison sentence for counterfeiting offences.

    Lorraine Eyre was given eight months in prison, suspended for two years at Bristol Crown Court after previously pleaded guilty to 18 charges relating to possessing and selling counterfeit clothing, bags, headwear and toys.

    At the time the offences took place, Eyre was running a business called Tacky.Me.Uk Limited from premises at Old Station Yard, Wotton Road, Charfield, the court heard.

    The company mostly traded online and focused heavily on selling merchandise with emerging and cult fashion brands, as well as T-shirts featuring bands and pop artists, including Justin Bieber and One Direction, pictured above.

    The T-shirts and sweatshirts were sold online around the world, making thousands of pounds for the business during a 19-month period between August 2011 and March 2013.It is estimated the company made a profit of £50,000 during the time of the offences.

    Trading standards officers took on the case after receiving complaints.

    Senior Fair Trade Officer Neil Derrick said: “Following a raid on the business premises and Eyre’s home in January 2013, we brought charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994, relating to the misuse of brands.

    “These included well-known brands such as Boy London and Obey and featured pop acts including One Direction, JLS and Justin Bieber.”

    Eyre was sentenced for her part in the offences along with the company itself, which was fined a nominal £40 as it no longer trades.

    A confiscation order for £50,000 was also made against Eyre.

    This must be paid within six months or Eyre will be liable to an 18-month prison sentence in default.

    An order was also made for £14,000 in prosecution costs to be paid within six months. Clothing, equipment and computers will also be forfeited

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    by Ron

UK Terror Alert: Police Warned to be Vigilant after Increase in Threat Level

  • October 14, 2014
  • National threat level is at “severe” meaning a terrorist attack is “highly likely

    Britain’s 130,000 police officers were urged to be “vigilant for their personal safety” after counter-terror chiefs warned the threat level against them had increased in the past 24 hours.

    Mark Rowley, the national lead for counter-terrorism at the Association of Chief Police Officers, refused to discuss specific intelligence but confirmed the threat level against detectives and support staff up and down the country had been “heightened”.

    Police and the intelligence agencies are working around the clock to track hundreds of suspected British jihadists as they return from fighting with Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq.

    Assistant Commissioner Rowley said: “The threat level to police officers and staff has been heightened, but we are used to confronting risk and danger; this is what we do on a daily basis, and we are well trained.

    “We are informing our officers and staff of the heightened risk and reminding them to remain vigilant and alert to any possible dangers. We are asking them to follow existing policies and good practice. Measures are being put in place to increase the vigilance of officers and staff.

    “You will see no major changes in the way we continue to police the UK and engage with our communities – our emphasis is on vigilance.”

    In August Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced the national threat level had increased from “substantial” to “severe”, meaning a terrorist attack is “highly likely”.

    Tensions are running particularly high since several Western hostages – including two British men, David Haines and Alan Henning  – were murdered by Isis militants.

    On Tuesday, Scotland Yard arrested five people during an investigation into a suspected terror plot targeting London.

    Friends of those arrested – three of whom attended Westminster City School – have issued messages of support on Twitter proclaiming their innocence

    Tarik Hassane, 21, a medical student known as “The Surgeon”; Gusai Abuzeid, 21; and Rawan Kheder, 20, were seized what security sources described as an intelligence-led operation, including months of surveillance.

    Tonight, it emerged that a Baikal handgun, ammunition and silencer were recovered some weeks ago during a raid in north-west London involving detectives from the Trident anti-gang squad.

    Friends of one of the men arrested told the London Evening Standard he had until recently lived with his family in north London. Neighbours described him as a “normal boy with loads of friends. It would be a big shock if he has done anything wrong.”


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    by Ron

Devices Being Remotely Wiped in Police Custody

  • Delete key


    All the data on some of the tablets and phones seized as evidence is being wiped out, remotely, while they are in police custody, the BBC has learned.

    Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Durham police all told BBC News handsets had been remotely “wiped”.

    And Dorset police said this had happened to six of the seized devices it had in custody, within one year.

    The technology used was designed to allow owners to remove sensitive data from their phones if they are stolen.

    “If a device has a signal, in theory it is possible to wipe it remotely,” said Ken Munro, a digital forensics expert with Pen Test Partners.

    Romance fraud

    A spokeswoman for Dorset police told the BBC: “There were six incidents, but we don’t know how people wiped them.

    “We have cases where phones get seized, and they are not necessarily taken from an arrested person – but we don’t know the details of these cases as there is not a reason to keep records of this,” she added.

    A spokeswoman for Derbyshire police confirmed that the force had had one incident of a device being remotely wiped while in police custody.

    “We can’t share many details about it, but the case concerned romance fraud, and a phone involved with the investigation was remotely wiped,” she said.

    “It did not impact upon the investigation, and we went on to secure a conviction,” she added.

    Meanwhile Cleveland police told the BBC that it too had had a case of a phone that had been wiped but it was not clear “whether it was wiped prior to coming into police hands”.

    Asked whether the police felt that the issue had damaged their investigation, the spokeswoman said: “We don’t know because we don’t know what was on the phone.”

    Other police forces affected by the issue include:

    • Cambridgeshire – one incident between August 2013 and August 2014
    • Durham – one incident during the same period
    • Nottingham – one incident

    Microwave help

    Mr Munro, who analyses hundreds of laptops, tablets, phones and other devices for corporate clients, said: “When we seize a device for digital forensics, we put it immediately into a radio-frequency shielded bag, which prevents any signals from getting through.

    “If we can’t get to the scene within an hour, we tell the client to pop it in a microwave oven.

    “The microwave is reasonably effective as a shield against mobile or tablet signals – just don’t turn it on.”

    SecureDrives, which develops hard drives for the military, is releasing one next year that can be physically destroyed just by sending a text message.

    The hard drive -which will cost more than £1,000 – is also immune to the radio-frequency blocking bags.

    “The hard drive is constantly looking for GSM [Global System for Mobile Communications] signals, if it is starved of them it it would destroy itself. It would see such a bag as a threat,” said James Little, head of sales at SecureDrives.


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    by Ron

Thousands Visit Wembley Market on its First Day

  • October 10, 2014
  • Around 8,000 people flocked to the new Wembley Market (</p><br />
<p>Photo: Chris Winter)

    ( Photo: Chris Winter)

    Around 8,000 people flocked to the new Wembley Market on its first day of Sunday trading yesterday.

    Shoppers enjoyed the wares on offer at the 210 stalls  following the re-opening of the popular trading place which was axed by developers Quintain last year due to the volume of fake goods for sale after 25 years.

    The new market promises to be free of counterfeit goods in light of its previous reputation with its new operators signed a code of practice with Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service.

    Mark Betts, associate headteacher of St Joseph’s Junior School in Wembley, said: “I’ve been living in Wembley now for almost 24 years and I’ve seen been a huge number of changes in the area.

    “Wembley Park is becoming a real hub and it’s really contributing to the regeneration and development of the area.

    “People have a reason to come to Wembley again and that revitalisation is really exciting, it’s making a big difference to the community.”

    All stallholders went through a vetting process where they were assessed to ensure the goods they have for sale are genuine, safe and of the highest quality.

    James Saunders, CEO of Quintain said: “Local people clearly welcomed the range of stalls and the market was busy from the moment it opened.

    “The food offering was particularly delicious and diverse; from Peruvian to Indian street food, and from organic honey to tempting cakes.

    “Other stalls included hand-made felt toys, clothes and general household goods. We want to bring new stall holders to site, as well as make space for traditional Wembley market traders and create a market that is a hub for the local community.”

    The new market will take place every Sunday except when there is a major event at the Stadium.

    Until the end of the year the market will be open from 10am and 4pm on October 12 and 19, November 2, 16 and 30, and every Sunday in December.

    If you are interested in becoming a stall holder visit and fill out an application form


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    by Ron

Apps Open International Door to Counterfeit Sellers

  • deathtostock_desk8First there was the Internet. Then eBay. Then Facebook. Now apps are giving international companies and trading standards officers a run for their money by helping traders in counterfeit goods hawk their wares.

    This is how it works. The app owner allows customers to download an app for free from Apple. As soon as the customer registers, they can start selling new or used goods by simply taking a photo of the item. The items link to other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter allowing the user to directly market to friends and acquaintances via established networks.  Users can also sell the item to hundreds and thousands of people already using the app. This method of selling is fast, easy and creating problems for brands, and trade bodies such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Group (ACG), are working closely with companies and trading standards to stop the sale of counterfeit goods.

    graham-mogg_image-for-tsi‘There are a couple of frustrations,’ said Graham Mogg, intelligence coordinator at the ACG. ‘The sites are very easy to join and it’s very easy to set up a trader account without divulging your true identity. Some companies running these apps often hide behind flimsy policies that say they won’t tolerate the sale of counterfeit goods and will remove products if a rights holder contacts them, but they do not police their own site and remove items that are obviously fake.’

    And — most importantly — unlike selling counterfeits from the back of a boot, the app owners give people around the world immediate access to counterfeit goods.

    ‘The products are sold globally,’ Mogg said. ‘This gives counterfeiters a massive market. There are a lot of legitimate products on these apps too so there’s no reason for consumers to believe that they’re buying counterfeit goods especially when the cost is attractive and people think they’re getting a bargain.’

    This type of trading activity came to ACG’s attention via social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook 18 months ago. Mogg acknowledges that most of the companies will remove the counterfeit goods that are for sale once they’ve been spotted. ‘Unfortunately, when it comes to identifying counterfeits they are reactive rather than proactive, often arguing that they don’t have the capacity to monitor counterfeit goods proactively.’

    ‘We would like them to work with our members to establish better reporting and identification methods,’ Mogg said. ‘For example, it could link to Brand-i which is supported by ACG members and other brands, letting users look up the genuine source of the product. It seems like it would be quite easy for them to establish but they don’t seem motivated at the moment to engage in proactive work.’

    Brand-i is a TSI-run site that allows consumers to see check reputable suppliers of name brand items. For more information on Brand-i, click here


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    by Ron

Don’t be a Victim!

  • October 8, 2014
  • Get Safe Online Week is here again from 20th – 26th October

    gso_logo2-160x138Whoever you are, whatever you do, you could be a victim of online crime. It’s a growing threat, but there are things you can do to protect yourself from online criminals – whether they’re anonymous individuals an organised crime gang operating in the UK or from abroad or even, sadly, someone you might know.

    To help increase awareness of the steps you can take, leading online safety awareness organisation Get Safe Online is delighted to announce the ninth annual Get Safe Online Week 2014, which will be held this year from 20th – 26th October. It describes how anyone, anywhere can be a victim of some kind of online crime, however safe they think they may be.

    During the week, Get Safe Online will be launching new research about attitudes to and experiences of online crime, alongside important advice on how to stay safe on your computer, smartphone, tablet or games console. They’d also love you to get your local community involved by setting up your own Get Safe Online Week event to raise awareness of this pressing issue, and play your part in protecting people of all ages from becoming victims of fraud, identity theft, abuse and other issues. Here are some ideas:

    • Organise a coffee morning to discuss positive or negative online experiences and help your friends, family and neighbours to stay protected
    • Have a think about people you know who might be more vulnerable than others to encountering problems, and tell them how they can protect themselves
    • Tell your friends, family, neighbours, employees, workmates, kids’ school and anyone else you know about Get Safe Online Week and point them to the website at

    Get Safe Online is a jointly funded initiative between several Government departments and private sector businesses and is the Government’s preferred online security advice channel.

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    by Ron

Facebook Sues Fake ‘like’ Scammers for £1.3bn

  • Facebook logo

    Facebook has vowed to “aggressively get rid of fake likes” on its network.

    The site said it had won more than $2bn (£1.3bn) in legal judgements against scam artists who sold fake likes to businesses.

    Many businesses buy likes to make their products or brands appear more popular.

    But Facebook said bumping up likes this way did “more harm than good”, and could mean companies “could end up doing less business on the social network.

    In a post on its security blog, Facebook said: “We have a strong incentive to aggressively get rid of fake likes because businesses and people who use our platform want real connections and results, not fakes.”

    It explained: “Fake-like-pedlars tempt Page admins with offers to “buy 10,000 likes!” or other similar schemes.

    “To deliver those likes, the scammers often try to create fake accounts, or in some cases, even hack into real accounts in order to use them for sending spam and acquiring more likes.

    “Since these fraudulent operations are financially motivated businesses, we focus our energy on making this abuse less profitable for the spammers.”

    It said as well as the legal action, these efforts included investing in sophisticated anti-spam algorithms.

    An investigation by BBC News in 2012 revealed the extent of the fake like problem.

    BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones set up a fake company – VirtualBagel – to see what happened when he paid for advertising through the network.

    He discovered that many of the likes VirtualBagel received were from suspicious accounts – none of which would have ever been actual customers had his business been real.


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    by Ron