As Interpol raided numerous locations across Europe last week to smash a counterfeit chip ring, it has emerged that processor companies have introduced technology to prevent the practice of chip clocking.
Over 2,000 police raided sites in Belgium, France, Italy and Germany as part of an attempt to smash a Chinese counterfeiting cartel. At the same time they issued arrest warrants for 24 individuals and arrested several other members of a group alleged to be involved in the scam.
The Interpol investigation has lasted three years but the incidence of counterfeiting had declined in any case, said Sukh Rayat, general manager of chip distributor Flashpoint. Most counterfeit chips were re-clocked, meaning that although they were sold to perform at 100MHz, they were re-marked as running at 120MHz.
"We used to see AMD re-marks last year, but everyone's tightened up on the processor side," Rayat said. "People lasered out the old markings and relasered on new ones. But the (chip) companies are now putting clock limiters into the chips. Intel and all the major processor companies are now doing that."
This policy was confirmed by Roy Taylor, general manager of Vanguard UK. "Intel's worked really hard.There are not only serial numbers on the processors, but they've put regulators into the chips too." Taylor warned that US criminals had already worked round that by removing the regulators, which prevent upward clocking, from the microprocessors.
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