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Counterfeit electronics trade is killing the industry

Moody goods put consumer brands at risk
Wed May 12 2010, 14:15

COUNTERFEIT ELECTRONICS GOODS are entering mainstream supply chains and winding up in consumer brand products, according to an investigation by Engineering & Technology magazine.

The magazine, which is published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, dug deep into the supply chains, speaking with manufacturers, distributors and testers, and found that fake goods have infected production like viruses. Amazingly, E&T found that at least five percent of the global supply chain includes shonky counterfeit elements that could "cause critical failure or can put an individual's data at risk".

Not only are they spreading like viruses, but many of the dodgy parts even include viruses themselves. In fact trading standards experts spoken with by E&T warned that viruses or malware have been found in all kinds of gadgets, from simple gizmos like digital photo frames to USB keys.

This element could prove to be the most costly, as users face the risk of losing their data on such a device just because the manufacturer has somehow managed to include some rogue kit in it.

Try explaining that in your local branch of PC World. The magazine also said that brand names themselves have suffered, but weeping for them isn't going to bring back anybody's wedding photos.

Most of the bent goods are coming from the grey market - parts not approved by the original manufacturer - or through the green market, which offers refurbished or second-hand goods.

The goods are often traded as new at Internet brokerages, according to the magazine. µ



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