The City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (much more manageably known as "PIPCU") has issued a warning to Christmas shoppers of the dangers of buying modded games consoles. Consoles that are "modded" (also sometimes called "cracked" or "jailbroken") have hardware modified (or new hardware installed) so that security measures pre-installed by the legitimate manufacturer do not function.
That allows the modder to install programs and content that they would not otherwise have been able to. While that is part of the attraction to consumers (as the modded console might come with a raft of games for very little charge), PIPCU have two very important warnings.
The first is that while it may seem like a good deal, if the operating system software is updated (as it often is) by the manufacturer, the entire system may stop working. The customer would have no right of refund and would be left significantly out of pocket were that to happen.
The second is that while many consoles are modded purely for the modder to profit in the first transaction, some have malware or viruses preinstalled alongside the games. If the malware or virus is then exposed to a home WiFi network or content is copied across to a computer, that virus or malware can be activated. The risks if that happens are as far reaching as with any virus and include identity theft and fraud.
While historically most warnings over counterfeit or non-genuine products have warned only of the detriment to the industry, PIPCU has a documented history of appealing to the consumers themselves by highlighting the risks to them individually if they buy from the counterfeit market. This warning follows others recently in relation to beauty products and electrics.
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