Here’s a fact: the counterfeit market for semiconductors is real, sizable and growing.
Here’s a much more sobering fact: earlier this decade, the Senate Armed Services Committee found over 1,800 cases where counterfeit electronic components were introduced into U.S. military hardware, including airplanes, helicopters and missiles. Let’s be clear about what that means; in each of those cases, a semiconductor of unknown origin, of dubious quality, and operating in a manner which cannot be assessed found its way into equipment used by our servicemen and women. This is not only an immediate risk to the health and safety of our troops, but also a potential significant security threat.
To be clear: Not all counterfeit semiconductors are the product of nefarious parties. Some are simply “recovered” from scrap stock, while others are removed from older circuit boards and reworked to look new. However, there is no real way to know this. While some may be the product of a party simply trying to reuse discarded stock, many of the counterfeit semiconductors are in fact manufactured to look and function like the real thing…but why? Further clarity: Like counterfeit consumer goods, it’s often impossible to visually determine if a semiconductor is authentic or not.
It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are ways to help address this issue. Rambus has recently released a white paper on this topic, where we explore the topic of how to combat counterfeit semiconductors in the military supply chain. Specifically, we address:
- The magnitude of the problem of counterfeit chips in the military supply chain?
- How and why are chips counterfeited?
- Why is the defense market in particular so susceptible to counterfeiting?
- The consequences of an unsecured supply chain
- How our CryptoManager Infrastructure and CryptoManager Root of Trust can help address this growing threat
The white paper is free to download. Click here for access.