News

Counterfeit parts have real consequences

Counterfeit components pose a growing problem in the electronics supply chain -- the same supply chain that brings us everything from our personal phones and tablets, to workplace computers, to crucial military electronic equipment used in combat situations or to fly commercial jets. These fraudulent parts can not only cause significant inconveniences when your equipment fails, but also lead to very costly recalls for companies, and even jeopardize lives. Conservative reports identify well over 100 incidents of counterfeit components per month. In response to this growing threat, various steps are being taken to combat counterfeit parts. For example, last year the U.S. Government passed theNational Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 818 of this Act requires defense contractors to tighten supply chain traceability and parts procurement to minimize counterfeit risk. The penalties and punishments in NDAA send a clear message of deterrence to encourage tighter quality management processes by engaging and defining "Trusted Suppliers" by their level of testing, sourcing, and quality management procedures for anti-counterfeiting. The crux of this deterrence though rests in how counterfeit parts are defined, and this issue will challenge the technology industry for a while to come.

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: Mark Hartzell
: 12/19/2012
: ComputerWorld

Webcast 14 Dec. to help microelectronics industry chart course for meeting DNA-marking mandat

NASHUA, N.H., 11 Dec. 2012. The government's DNA-marking mandatefor electronic parts has been called expensive, confusing, and questionably effective, yet is the law of the land. A panel of industry experts will give on how to follow the mandate's guidelines, and chart a course for what suppliers can expect in the future during aWebcast at 1 p.m. this Friday, 14 Dec. 2012, sponsored by Military & Aerospace Electronics. ... Read More

: John Keller
: 12/12/2012
: Military & Aerospace Magazine

New DARPA Program Seeks to Reveal Backdoors and Other Hidden Malicious Functionality in Commercial IT Devices

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Innovation Office (I2O) will conduct a briefing in support of the anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the VET – Vetting Commodity IT Software and Firmware program. When released, the BAA will be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website, http://www.fedbizopps.gov, and possibly the Grants.gov website,http://www.grants.gov/. This Proposers’ Day is unclassified.
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: John Ellis
: 12/06/2012
: ChipSecuity.org

Government chips with DNA: Policy or folly?

The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)'s new anti-counterfeiting requirementbecame effective November 15, mandating that electronic microcircuits it procures must be "marked with botanically-generated DNA marking material." It's a move to address increasing concerns about the proliferance of counterfeit components, which carries the twin worries of reliability and security. Credit to John Keller over at our sister publication Military and Aerospace Electronics who has been tracking this story and hashing out its implications to the military supply-side. Applied DNA Sciences and Altera have been working on technology which converts plant DNA into genetic codes, to be mixed with ink to mark products or even directly infused into materials. Detectable in the simplest way with a swab or blacklight, the technology is already used in end products including wine, textiles, and European bank notes. James Hayward, head of Applied DNA, flatly states "the strongest claim in the industry [...] which is our DNA cannot be copied." ... Read More

: [None specified]
: 11/30/2012
: Solid State Technology

Pentagon stirs up semiconductor industry with its requirement to mark parts with unique DNA

A new anti-counterfeiting requirement from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at Fort Belvoir, Va., is triggering pushback from semiconductor manufacturers, who claim the new requirement is not an appropriate cure for electronics counterfeiting, does not adequate authenticate legacy semiconductors, has not been tested adequately, and will increase semiconductor manufacturing costs. The DNA-marking mandate, which became effective on 15 November requires all semiconductors sold to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to be marked with DNA-based materials unique to each government contractor. The intent is to prevent counterfeit parts from entering the DOD supply chain by authenticating each piece with a unique DNA-based signature. Using DNA -- sort for deoxyribonucleic acid, or the biological building block of all life -- is intended to provide a fool-proof fingerprint for each semiconductor the DOD buys to rule out the possibility of counterfeiting. ... Read More

: John Keller
: 11/26/2012
: Military & Aerospace Magazine

Feds, industry split over counterfeit parts strategy

 

Industry groups are crying foul over steps the government is taking to curb the growing problem of counterfeit parts making their way into products and weapons bought by the government. Of particular concern is a provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which orders the Defense Department to hold contractors financially responsible for replacing counterfeit products.
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: Nicole Blake Simpson
: 11/26/2012
: Federal Times

Europe has a lot to say about Counterfeit Semiconductors. Part II: Both the exhibitors and the customers agree about the solution.

Rochester and all the companies exhibiting at Electronica, especially the original component manufacturers, are looking to help customers by providing authorizedcomponents that eliminate the possibility of counterfeit. As counterfeiters get more sophisticated, they are employing increasingly clever techniques to pass off fake components. However, what is interesting is that 40% of counterfeit components that are reported can be easily purchased from authorized sources. In conversations here at Electronica, many have said that third party testing, visual testing and any electrical testing that does not utilize the OCM test programs are not definitive methods of identifying counterfeit components. ... Read More

: George Karalias, Rochester Electronics
: 11/15/2012
: Rochester lectronics

Morning Bell: Cybersecurity: Do You Trust the Government with Your Computer?

"...Simply put, government regulations usually take 24–36 month to complete, but the power of computers doubles every 18–24 months. This means that any standards developed will be written for threats that are two or three computer generations old...." via Morning Bell: Cybersecurity: Do You Trust the Government with Your Computer?. Editor's note: The government seems hopelessly incapable of helping with security. They have few tools in their belt besides legislative clubs, which so far are proving ineffective in the counterfeiting problem. I suspect that the rush to approve cyber security bills will not bode well for industry, but then again, industry needs to "own" the problem, come together, and fix the problem before government feels they have to. A new regulation or agency will never go away...
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: John Ellis
: 11/14/2012
: ChipSecurity.org

Strike-one for the defense industry

A week or so ago I wrote that economic hard times for the defense industry no longer are on the horizon; they're here. In that blog, entitled "Military business slows to a trickle; now a matter of how hard things will get," I pointed out three things to watch for to get a sense of how hard military business is going to be hit: the presidential election, sequestration, and the 2014 Pentagon budget request. As for the first item, as you probably know by now, Barack Obama -- bringing his hostility to the military in general and for defense spending in particular -- has been re-elected president. ... Read More

: John Keller
: 11/14/2012
: Military & Aerospace Magazine

Europe has a lot to say about Counterfeit Semiconductors. Part I: When can you compare a semiconductor to a sausage?

Everyone knows that counterfeit is not limited to just electronics. But, as one of our OCM contacts said today, “A counterfeit purse is still a purse. Yes, it’s harmful to the company’s brand, but you’re not going to get hurt or die if the handle breaks off prematurely…” Electronics counterfeiting is like fake medicine or tainted food. Munich offers some of the finest food in the world. Authentic traditional sausages, beer and cheeses to start! When you can have the best, why would you want to bite into a sausage that used sawdust as filler or cheese that used toxic chemicals to accelerate the aging process? When it comes to a semiconductor, one that is sub-par either in specification or as an outright fake, can harm you just as quickly as food poisoning received from a poorly made sausage. And as we are all aware, semiconductors make their way into life sustaining critical daily operation systems. What we’re finding out is that proliferation of counterfeit is just as bad in Europe as it is in the United States. ... Read More

: George Karalias, Rochester Electronics
: 11/14/2012
: Rochester Electronics