More counterfeit chips popping upCounterfeit chips are nothing new but ARS Technica reports the issue is now becoming more grave. The site writes criminals are seeing the shortages as an opportunity to make a quick buck by selling counterfeit electronics. In many cases, the counterfeit chips are inexpensive drop-in replacements, or sometimes second-hand chips pressed back into service as new.
Allegedly, it's not easy to distinguish fake parts from genuine parts because fake chips frequently work well enough to pass initial tests. However, they fail earlier than genuine parts, or do not perform as intended under specific workloads or in specific environments.
According to CALCE counterfeit electronics researcher Diganta Das, a lot of firms are now relaxing rules to ensure manufacturing lines don't sit idle. The problem is unlikely to affect the large tech manufacturing giants, which source parts directly from chip foundries, but it is an issue for smaller firms that buy parts in small quantities from distributors.
Manufacturing companies are well aware of counterfeit chips and normally have elaborate measures to detect and avoid them. But according to Diganta Das, a counterfeit electronics researcher at CALCE, those processes can get left behind when it's a question of whether the line runs or sits idle. When a company needs 5,000 parts next week in order to keep a line running, he says, "you won't keep to your rules of verifying the vendor or going through test processes."