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US Military Trying To Weed Out Counterfeit Parts 264

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from an AP report: "'Sprinkling' sounds like a fairly harmless practice, but in the hands of sophisticated counterfeiters it could deceive a major weapons manufacturer and possibly endanger the lives of U.S. troops. It's a process of mixing authentic electronic parts with fake ones in hopes that the counterfeits will not be detected when companies test the components for multimillion-dollar missile systems, helicopters and aircraft. It was just one of the brazen steps described Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing examining the national security and economic implications of suspect counterfeit electronics — mostly from China — inundating the Pentagon's supply chain. ... The committee's ongoing investigation found about 1,800 cases of suspect counterfeit electronics being sold to the Pentagon. The total number of parts in these cases topped 1 million. By the semiconductor industry's estimates, counterfeiting costs $7.5 billion a year in lost revenue and about 11,000 U.S. jobs."
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US Military Trying To Weed Out Counterfeit Parts

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  • Bogus parts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:23PM (#37995028)

    I can attest to this. A former employer tried to buy some parts for some ham radio related products we made. We got 500 of them. ALL of them were completely useless. They LOOKED authentic, but when connected to a known good test fixture, they proved to be utterly useless. We were very fortunate, in that we had purchased them from a legitimate dealer, who refunded our money.

    This is a serious problem.

  • by theVarangian ( 1948970 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:27AM (#37995830)

    Most likely, it is a generally unimportant COTS part. Could be resistors, fluorescing CRT panels... w/e. TFA mentions a 12$ million weapon system being ruined by a bad 2$ part.

    This is not a new problem. About 10 years ago a Luftwaffe mechanic changing bolts on the propeller assembly (IIRC) of a bunch of heavy transport planes became suspicious when the nuts he was handed were a different color than usual. He reported it and the things turned out to be made of mild steel; his meticulous nature prevented a really ugly accident. Some people weren't that lucky []. I read somewhere they even found fake parts on Air-Force One.

  • Re:oh bs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:27AM (#37995832)
    Just wondering, have you bought a house in China to compare your American one to? Have you seen the quality of construction work that passes for "acceptable" around here? There was a news article the other day about a bridge where the construction workers used stones instead of cement and that one construction worker admitted "“I wouldn’t dare ride [any trains that go over this bridge] once its opened."

    I have lived outside Shanghai for 3 years and the way they cut corners in this country is mind-blowing in its thoroughness. Remember the melamine-tainted milk from a few years back that killed all those babies? What about the toys containing lead made for export? Did you know that 10% of oil used in restaurants in China is carcinogenic because it's been recycled using harsh chemicals? In my opinion, the Chinese as a whole are far less concerned about "doing the right thing" than people are in America are. The culture just doesn't see a problem with screwing other people over, if you can get away with it. Doesn't stop at manufacturing, either--people litter shamelessly, don't stop at red lights, and extortion is considered a viable business strategy. Call me racist if it makes you feel better, but I've seen too much to pretend that Chinese culture isn't shit. I didn't come to this country with such notions, but I certainly will leave with them.

    "To be rich is glorious." - Deng Xiaoping

    Articles that mention the stuff I said: [] [] []
  • It's cultural (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BenEnglishAtHome ( 449670 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @09:08AM (#37998032)

    The reason why someone would risk their reputation for a small increase in profit is cultural. The Chinese have no misgivings about ripping off their customers. Whatever they can get away with, they will.

    Go to the Consumer Electronics Show sometime and talk to the people there. You'll hear horror stories over and over that all follow the same pattern - "The minute we turned our backs, the Chinese contractor started substituting whatever cheap-ass parts they could find."

    It's cultural. They believe if they *can* rip you off and get away with it, then that's the right thing to do. Anyone who does business with them who doesn't have their own people in the factory, doing QC and generally being suspicious, is taking way too much risk.

Disks travel in packs.