Security & Counterfeit Applications




There are 2 types of applications:

Counterfeit detection aimed to support validation on your supply chain

More advanced security solutions aim to validate that your design is valid vs hardware attacks.


Counterfeit Detection


Some Facts about Counterfeit ICs:

Are you feeling safe about counterfeit? Check lastest facts...

  • Counterfeit electronics originating from China accounted for $1 billion to $10 billion in lost global sales in 2002
  • For each $1 billion in counterfeit electronics in China, between $300 and $400 million consists of ICs. That's 30% to 40%!
  • In 2002, US Customs Service intercepted only about $10 million in fake electronics. This means that they only prevented about $3 million to $4 million in ICs. In other words, well over $300 million in ICs made it to US shores - and therefore into your warehouse - completely undetected!
  • Counterfeit ICs cost your business time and money
  • Distribution of counterfeit ICs will lose customers' faith and trust in your product

What you can do to protect yourself:

Efficient counterfeit detection is through (a) visual package inspection, (b) X-ray inspection, (c) XRF inspection (for ROHS usually), (d) die inspection (after opening) and (e) electrical testing. And don't forget to document it well :  Quality of the reporting on your effort to detect counterfeit is key for distributors.

External Visual inspection is the first step to identify different marking - answering if component was sanded and re-coatted for instance? is this a refurbished device? how good is the marking?

X-ray inspection aims to see connections & die is as expected

XRF aims to identify chemical composition of the material used. XRF inspection in counterfeit usually aims to identify ROHS compliance.

Die opening is done through sampling of your incoming supplier - then enabling visual silicon/ bounding inspection as well as specific electrical testing.

Electrical testing would support to detect if chip is electrically functioning. More efficient tester solutions to validate 'datasheet'  (through Teseda's tester for instance) are however challenging to implement for distributor without strong expertise.

Questions remains on how to support adapted & efficient solutions for a good supply chain management.


Adapted & Efficient solutions for supply chain management

Visual inspection needs high end optic. Wheither you need to get evidence of remarking, of refurbishing, you need a well suited optical solution:

Up to high magnification to check at the side view (evidence of remarking), to check the content of the die (after decapping), to check material quality.

With adequate lenses (LWD, APO, ...), adapted illumination to enable correct observation and more ... (BF/DF to check sanding for instance).

Please check Seiwa Optical solutions. Please contact us for configuring with you the solution adapted to your needs

counterfeit detection

You really need to see inside. Nisene Technology is the worlwide leader in automatique IC decapsulation, enabling you verification of your package & silicon. Quality of the opening is important to ensure analysis would not be rejected.

Please check Nisene's JetEtch solution for IC decapsulation.

Please contact us if you want advice on selecting your decapsulation solution.

Sampling only or 100% High throughput solutions

Can you trust 'partial sampling' inspection only? You thought 100% inspection was not practical? Whereas with standard Xray tool, throughput & ease of use is such that partial sampling is usually being done, question is about the risk of partial inspection. Counterfeit are hidden: for instance, in reel, sometime only 15% (or less) of component are counterfeit - but consecutive cost is high.

Creative Electron offers an automated inspection solution - with sufficient throughput for 100% of your incoming good. Full

counterfeit X-ray

automated Xray & XRF inspection is available in single tool - with an unique & patented reel to reel processing system.

  • Please check Creative Electron's Truview solutions for 100% inspection


In Summary

You are

You want

Answers to counterfeit

We offer

an IC distributor, OEM, an EMS, a quality group to validate that your supply chain is delivery what you expect Detecting evidence of remarking/ refurbishing adapted suite of optical tool to inspect packages/ pins

Viewing inside your component

Package Opening solution to vizualize the die
Automatic detection of counterfeit 100% X-ray & XRF incoming quality inspection

example of counterfeit detection with X-ray


Please contact us if you have any questions.

Security Testing vs HW attacks

An other aspect of security is about ensuring your chip/ data can not be accessed.

Whereas simple attacks (eg. introducing faults) are usually well characterized, designer tool to validate silicon may become risks enabling more sofisticated attacks.

A word on side channel attacks

Side channel attack is mainly related to cryptography: Any attack based on information gained from the physical implementation of a cryptosystem, rather than brute force or theoretical weaknesses in the algorithms (compare cryptanalysis). For example, timing information, power consumption, electromagnetic leaks or even sound can provide an extra source of information which can be exploited to break the system.

General classes of side channel attack include:

  • Timing attack — attacks based on measuring how much time various computations take to perform.
  • Power monitoring attack — attacks which make use of varying power consumption by the hardware during computation.
  • Electromagnetic attacks — attacks based on leaked electromagnetic radiation which can directly provide plaintexts and other information.
  • Acoustic cryptanalysis — attacks which exploit sound produced during a computation (rather like power analysis).
  • Cache attacks and related methods — attacks exploiting state revealed between processes on a computer;
  • Differential fault analysis, in which secrets are discovered by introducing faults in a computation.

In all cases, the underlying principle is that physical effects caused by the operation of a cryptosystem (on the side) can provide useful extra information about secrets in the system, for example, the cryptographic key, partial state information, full or partial plaintexts and so forth.

Exploiting Silicon validation tools

Silicon validation tool set available for design can become intrusive or non-intrusive attack solutions. Designer requires advanced analysis when debugging/ validating their silicon. Set of tool available to designer needs to be understood by specialist in HW security to ensure correct countermeasure to be implemented.

- Is your threshold of detection of an attack sufficiently high?

- Is your design well enough protected vs invasive attacks?

- Do you want to be aware of more advanced "non invasive" potential?

If you want to evaluate risk of your technologies vs existing toolset available for designer, adapt technologies to security needs, please contact us.

You are

You want


We offer

specialist in HW security to ensure security/ preventing access to the content of your chip

Did you consider selectively removing each layers?

Delayering solution - physical analysis is often using delayering, thus design is being exposed

Did you consider backside access?

Circuit Edit - is a major tool for designer to correct their design - can it enable access to your design?

Did you consider probing any areas of your silicon?

Probing solution - is currently done to validate timing on silicon - can this be combined with other solutions to become a threat
Did you consider identifying thermal signature of a sequence?
Thermal analysis - having spatial signature is being use to control thermal management. You may consider risk of combine analysis with Power attacks
(confidential image)


Please contact us if you have any questions on the most up to date technology used by failure analysis & design debug laboratories, or just how such technologies may become a threat.

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