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DNA Stamping Could Eliminate Counterfeit Chips

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 15 comments

One company is fighting against counterfeiters by using DNA marking.

Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (APDN) announced on Wednesday that it had developed a method to thwart counterfeiters and the "growing deluge of millions of counterfeit chips posing peril to the U.S. military and the general public." The announcement arrived just after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's estimate that the global market for counterfeit electronics may have reached $10 billion.

According to the company, the new method uses a technology that utilizes botanical DNA to forensically ID microelectronics. "DNA-marking protects the consumer, the government, our service men and women," APDN said. "The manufacturers can ensure that only properly screened, original product goes to users. The same DNA marking can then protect the manufacturers themselves in the form of returned product which they must replace or repair. Broadly applicable, DNA marking could be disseminated as industry best practices and military standards."

Current methods of microchip verification include paperwork reviews, visual inspections, and reliability testing. APDN argues that paperwork is often fraudulent, visual inspections are superficial, and reliability testing is expensive and demanding. DNA markers can forensically protect any electronic device including routers, PCBs, semiconductors and more.

"The military and circuit integrators can not be blamed for the poisoning of supply chains when chip manufacture is available in abundance by countries intent on stealing IP and riding the coattails of other marketing investments," said APDN's President and CEO, Dr. James Hayward. "But DNA is an opportunity to draw a line in the sand, to stop the progress of this problem today."

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    gm0n3y , September 15, 2010 10:10 PM
    To me this is a parallel to software piracy. You can keep making it more difficult to copy, but eventually the pirates will find a way around it. Of course with DNA marking, it will become quite difficult, but I'm sure not impossible to copy.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    gm0n3y , September 15, 2010 10:10 PM
    To me this is a parallel to software piracy. You can keep making it more difficult to copy, but eventually the pirates will find a way around it. Of course with DNA marking, it will become quite difficult, but I'm sure not impossible to copy.
  • 2 Hide
    Rancifer7 , September 15, 2010 10:55 PM
    And who better to bring this technology to you, with heavy royalties of course, than us!

    Here I was worrying about terrorists, plague, crime, piracy, and Bieber. Now they are making fake chips! We must act swiftly!
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • -2 Hide
    chickenhoagie , September 15, 2010 11:38 PM
    cool, another way to spread my DNA markings around the world. What a way to make life harder for the good citizens, and not any harder for the criminals.
  • -6 Hide
    fjjb , September 16, 2010 12:43 AM
    so this means that if you open your xbox it will be marked on the dna? sounds cool..... i guess.... at least for microsoft
  • 1 Hide
    drutort , September 16, 2010 1:59 AM
    so how do they track the dna markings??? doesnt that require the internet... and if your the gov or military thats not a good idea... that just opens up the door for all the other negative things that go along with it... great now you just uniquely ID'ed yourself and the chip were you are exactly... brilliant!

    i guess they forget that this tech can be used in very bad ways to track or spy on... more privacy out the window... how is this diff then when intel tried to serialize its cpu's
  • 2 Hide
    mlopinto2k1 , September 16, 2010 2:50 AM
    gm0n3yTo me this is a parallel to software piracy. You can keep making it more difficult to copy, but eventually the pirates will find a way around it. Of course with DNA marking, it will become quite difficult, but I'm sure not impossible to copy.
    In other news... humanity is proven to be highly diverse!
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , September 16, 2010 3:44 AM
    That's the science of trading. . .something the consumers will choose not to buy the real item instead the bad one for less.
  • 1 Hide
    jsc , September 16, 2010 6:29 AM
    It's not just chips. This article from 2 years ago:
    http://sound.westhost.com/counterfeit.htm
  • 1 Hide
    braneman , September 16, 2010 6:41 AM
    from the title I was going to make a crack about Doritos, but this is kinda cool.
  • 5 Hide
    rdwestgate , September 16, 2010 12:47 PM
    Honestly guys I have had to deal with this is industry, and is actually more prevalent than you think. More of what the issue is that you are looking for a certain chip and go to certain a certain chip warehouse to get the IC chip you need for your PCB board and the chips are counterfeit. I had to return about a 1000 chips last week for this issue. This isn't like software piracy where we are trying to get stuff for free or pirate a game, it's more of the knock offs or people posing chips as being something they are not. I work for one of the largest DOD manufacturers so this would be a great thing to add to our supplier base.
  • 2 Hide
    akula2 , September 16, 2010 4:47 PM
    Certainly it's a bad news to Chinese/Taiwanese companies :) 
  • 0 Hide
    mikem_90 , September 16, 2010 6:18 PM
    Yeah, there was a big scare about counterfeit Cisco products with backdoors in them for spying purposes.

    The high dollar return for counterfeiting CPUs and ICs in general can be a draw for the less than honest person. We get a notice every so often "Buy ONLY through the proper channels!" else we might end up with Newegg on our face.
  • 0 Hide
    dstigue , September 16, 2010 6:24 PM
    Ridiculous. They will copy this too. And who's DNA are they going to use? Or what species?
  • 3 Hide
    compton , September 16, 2010 6:38 PM
    Quote:
    Ridiculous. They will copy this too. And who's DNA are they going to use? Or what species?
    [/quote
    It reads "botanical" as in plant dna.
  • 2 Hide
    kingssman , September 16, 2010 9:58 PM
    ewwww someone got all their DNA over this chip.. STEVE! is that YOU?!