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The JTAG Interrogator: The Arrival of a New Counter-Counterfeiting Tool

The extent of component counterfeiting can be staggering when you..

The JTAG Interrogator: The Arrival of a New Counter-Counterfeiting Tool

The JTAG Interrogator: The Arrival of a New Counter-Counterfeiting Tool

The extent of component counterfeiting can be staggering when you think about it:

  • Unmarked refurbished units
  • Salvaged components dressed up to look new
  • Illegal clones or second-run components
  • Tainted components  manufactured with malicious hidden features

If non-authentic components have made their way into your production line, then each such situation represents a unique set of potentially life-threatening risks and vulnerabilities even beyond cost and schedule slippage. Today, thanks to the developers at Corelis, Inc., the good guys have a new anti-counterfeiting weapon in their arsenal: the JTAG Interrogator.

The JTAG (Joint Test Action Group) is the common name for the IEEE 1149.1 standard, which tests interconnections on printed circuit boards at the integrated circuit level. Manufacturers have successfully been using JTAG for years to ferret out defects and other faults in their components. Corelis has adapted this proven standard to develop a non-intrusive device that easily verifies authentic semiconductors on components. Once deployed, the testing function will scan the registers already present on the components and identify specific component interconnections. Then a quick comparison of this data to a master list allows the tester to determine whether the inventory is the “real McCoy” or something much less desirable.

Interruptions in the supply chain and in reactive obsolescence management allow criminals the opportunity to threaten critical programs on a regular basis. However, with the development of tools like the Interrogator, quality assurance teams have a new weapon to use in the fight against counterfeits before they hit the assembly line.

The GDCA Team


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