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CEO of Multiple Fake Companies Charged in $1bn Counterfeit Scheme to Traffic Fake Cisco Devices

 

Last Friday, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed that a Florida citizen named Ron Aksoy had been arrested and alleged with selling thousands of fake and counterfeit Cisco goods over 12 years. 

Aksoy, also known as Dave Durden, would have operated at least 19 firms based in New Jersey and Florida, as well as at least 15 Amazon stores, around 10 eBay storefronts, and many additional corporations worth more than $1 billion. Aksoy faces three counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and three counts of trafficking in counterfeit products. 

According to court records, the fraudulent firms purchased tens of thousands of counterfeit Cisco networking equipment from China and Hong Kong and resold them to consumers in the United States and across the world, fraudulently advertising the items as new and authentic. Chinese counterfeiters modified earlier, lower-model goods (some of which had been sold or dumped) to look to be authentic versions of newer, improved, and more expensive Cisco gear. 

As a result, the fraudulent and counterfeit items had severe performance, functionality, and safety issues, costing users tens of thousands of dollars. According to the indictment, between 2014 and 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confiscated approximately 180 shipments of counterfeit Cisco equipment being transported to the Pro Network Entities (the fraudulent firm name under which Aksoy operated) from China and Hong Kong. 

In response to some of these seizures, Aksoy would have filed fraudulent official papers to CBP using the pseudonym "Dave Durden," which he also used to contact with Chinese co-conspirators. The entire enterprise reportedly generated over $100 million in income, with Aksoy keeping a sizable portion while his co-conspirators received the remainder. Potential victims have been advised to get in touch with authorities. 

The DOJ has developed a publicly available list of Pro Network firms, as well as the accused criminal's eBay and Amazon stores.

57% of All Digital Crimes in 2021 Were Scams Says Group IB

 

Group-IB, headquartered in Dubai, U.A.E.,  a prominent name in the world of cybersecurity –has recently shared its analysis of the most widespread cyber threat in the world 'scams'.

As per the analysis, 57% of all cyber scams are financially motivated cybercrime. Phishing attacks accounted for 18% of cybercrimes, while malware infections and reputational attacks were 25%. As the scam industry is becoming more advanced, it now involves more and more parties divided into hierarchical groups. 

“A strong trend that we observed in 2021 was no-frills scammers merging into groups controlled by highly technically skilled villains,” says Antony Dolgalev, Deputy Head of Digital Risk Protection at Group-IB. 

At present, such groups have increased by 390, which is 3.5 times more than the last year, when the record of active groups was close to 110. Alongside, the brand-impersonating scam has also jumped high. 

The Group-IB analysts reported an increase of 150% in the Middle East and African region. This number is marginally high in comparison with the APAC region where such crimes are reported at 83% and in Europe, it is 89%. 

Due to SaaS (Scam-as-a-Service), in 2021 the number of cybercriminals in one scam gang increased 10 times compared to 2020, now climbing upto 100. 

“Group-IB’s AI-based platform identified somewhere between 75 and 110 scam groups last year, and the average number of cybercriminals per group was 10 members. The average number of scam links per group reached 100. SaaS helped grow not only fraudsters’ appetites but also the industry itself. In 2021 our DRP system tracked 350 groups, reaching up to 390 scam groups at the peak time. The number of cybercriminals in fraudulent groups has increased dramatically, averaging between 100 and 1,000 per group. In turn, their infrastructure has grown proportionally: the average number of scam links per group was between 2,000 and 3,000”, said Antony Dolgalev, Deputy Head of Digital Risk Protection at Group-IB. 

Following the research, analysts reported that traffic has become the circulatory system of scams. The number of websites that uses illegal traffic to lure victims into fraudulent schemes has increased by 1.5 times. With the advancement of technology, cyber gangs have also raised the sophistication level of scam techniques. One such technique, 'scam attack automation' is becoming more and more popular amongst fraudsters. Through this scheme hackers attract specific groups of victims to increase conversion rates, social media is the fastest doorway to establish contact between scammers and their potential victims.