A six-line factory that cranks out counterfeit iDevices has been shut down by Chinese authorities, as China cracks down on knockoffs.
Authorities have arrested nine individuals believed to have been associated with the raided factory, which has shipped at least 41,000 fake iOS devices this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Accounting for the more than 60,000 device ribbons the factory put out, the company has made an estimated $19.3 million off of iDevice counterfeits.
The factory came up on the radar of federal agencies when its handy work, fake iPhones, began appearing in the U.S. last May. After a bit of investigation, authorities uncovered an operation run by a husband and wife team from China that employed hundreds of workers and put out tens of thousands of fake Apple products.
Operating behind the front of an electronics repair facility, the factory of fakes imported main boards for mobile devices from foreign countries and ordered second-hand iDevice parts from Apple's mega-facility in Shenzhen.
China isn't alone in keeping tabs on counterfeits manufactured there. Earlier this month, John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, stated that knockoff electronics are the latest threat to all levels of security, ranging from personal to governmental.
"Already concerned with cybercrime and hacking, we are now faced with counterfeit electronics — a new layer of unethical behavior that is having detrimental effects on our national security," said Shegerian. "It's not just about personal information and finances; it is also a risk to using poorly designed or improperly tested technological components, which can ultimately render many processes unsafe or vulnerable."
The head of the electronics recycling organization called for more responsibility on the part of government agencies and private sector companies in recycling electronic waste. With the current speed of technological innovation, people are swapping out laptops and other electronic devices at a high rate, he said.
"Responsibly recycling all old and unwanted items — government or otherwise — here in the United States, is crucial," Shegerian said. "Our safety, digital security, environment and the reliability and legitimacy of newly made devices all rest in the balance of us recycling the right way."