Counterfeit goods flood semiconductor supply chain

The threat of counterfeit parts entering the chip supply chain is of “paramount importance”, according to a report.

The number of counterfeit parts has been on the rise recently, and is thought to have tripled over the past two years.

According to IHS, two thirds of the incidents reported involved the five most prevalent types of semiconductor; analogue ICs, microprocessors, memory ICs, programmable logic devices and transistors.

The threat to these five areas of the semi market amount to a $169 billion risk all in all, with uses in a wide variety of applications.

For example, from consumer electronics to wireless communications, and in automotive and industrial applications, faulty goods are getting into the supply chain.

Usually this will mean cheap substitutes or components will have been grabbed from the bin, dusted down and thrown into the production line.

While faulty counterfeit components may, on one end of the spectrum, mean your smartphone cuts out more than usual, if you happen to be relying on a chip working to fly a plane then the repercussions are more significant.

Considering the amounts of money that areas of the semi industry are worth, it is a major red flag for businesses, as well as those averse to having their mobile burst into flames mid call.

The analogue IC market, for instance, is worth $47.7 billion globally, and its ICs find their way into many fields.

The wireless market accounted for 29 percent of analogue IC sales, contributing $13.8 billion in revenue, while consumer electronics were responsible for $9.8 billion last year.

In order to combat the problem, President Obama has signed legislation that demands US defence organisations are held accountable for checking for counterfeit goods in the supply chain.