Semiconductors are embedded into countless products and systems that perform critical functions in our society, and the failure of a single component in one of these products or systems can have catastrophic consequences. Known incidents of counterfeits causing or potentially causing health, safety, and security issues include:
- A counterfeit semiconductor component was identified in an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), resulting in a defibrillator over-voltage condition. Failure to detect and address this issue could have resulted in improper electrical shocks being applied to heart attack victims, thus jeopardizing their lives.
- A counterfeit semiconductor component caused a fire in the control circuitry in a vacuum cleaner for residential use. This fire was successfully contained, but it had the potential to result in major property damage or even loss of life.
- A counterfeit semiconductor failed in a power supply used for airport landing lights. This did not result in any reported airline take-off or landing incidents, but the potential for such incidents was obvious.
- A broker shipped counterfeit microcontrollers intended for use in braking systems in high-speed trains in Europe.
- A broker shipped counterfeit microprocessors intended for use in automated medication applications, including intravenous (IV) drip machines.
These examples represent just a fraction of the incidents where counterfeit semiconductor components jeopardize the health, safety, and security of the general public worldwide. While some counterfeited products, such as jewelry and apparel, result in economic harm and do not endanger consumers, counterfeit semiconductors can be particularly dangerous depending on their end application. This is why it is so critical that semiconductor components be procured exclusively through authorized sources.