Thursday, December 22, 2011

Electronic Components May Contain Cyberspying Threat

Even “legitimate” electronic components made in China and other countries may contain dangerous surprises.  There is growing concern that such components may include the hidden ability to spy on US telecom and computer network data.

According to a Bloomberg report, the Obama administration is pressing US telecom companies to reveal information about such possible electronic espionage attempts.  The government is using Cold War powers to pressure companies to provide the information.

“This is beyond vague suspicions,” said Richard Falkenrath, a senior fellow in the Council on Foreign Relations Cyberconflict and Cybersecurity Initiative. “Congress is now looking at this as well, and they’re doing so based on very specific material provided them in a classified setting by the National Security Agency,” he said.

This is a growing area of concern. Watch for additional and widening investigations.  Now we test electronic components to ensure that they do what is expected of them. Soon we may be testing them to make sure they only do what is expected, with no hidden functions or capabilities. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SIA President Testifies on Dangers of Counterfeit Chips

The president of  the  Semiconductor Industry Association recently testified before Congress on the dangers and costs of counterfeit electronic components.

“The catastrophic failure risk inherently found in counterfeit semiconductors places our citizens and military personnel in unreasonable peril. A counterfeit semiconductor is a ticking time bomb,” Brian Toohey,  the president of the Semiconductor Industry Association told the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is investigating counterfeit electronic parts in the Department of Defense supply chain.

“Counterfeiters violate American companies’ intellectual property rights and cost American’s jobs. We estimate that counterfeiting costs US-based semiconductor companies more than $7.5 billion each year.
For more information on Toohey’s testimony before the Senate committee see:  SIA President Testifies on Dangers of Counterfeit Chips

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Discussions on Proper Electrical Testing of Components at the DMSMS 2011 Conference

A major concern at the recently concluded DMSMS conference was the US Department of Defense potential cutback of electrical testing of electronic components.

The Military and Aerospace industry attendees and exhibitors had major concerns about the limited testing performed by a curve/contact tester versus the preferred DC, AC, functional and parametric testing of a device.  The preferred tests are important in uncovering counterfeit products.
I gave a lecture at the conference entitled “Proper Electrical Testing to Detect Counterfeit Components.”  Its scope was to educate members of the electronics industry about the risks associated with performing only basic contact testing with simple counterfeit detectors as opposed to the preferred functional and parametric exercises required to properly test these suspect electronic components.  Electrical testing provides a more thorough exercise in testing electronic component products to illustrate their accuracy and authenticity.

As exhibitors at the recent DMSMS conference, NJMET presented our Mission: Imposter Counterfeit Component Test Program. The team at NJMET participated in the Counterfeit Parts Control Plan Implementations, the DMSMS Tools and Services Program, as well as technical sessions and panels which included: Institutionalizing Standard Practices, Defense Initiatives and Their Impact to DMSMS, Counterfeit Mitigation Strategies, and Counterfeit Reporting.
For more about the DMSMS conference see “Joseph Federico talks on proper electrical testing at the DMSMS and Standardization Conference 2011.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Purpose of Electronic Testing

Here’s a link to a great layman’s level explanation of the purpose of electronic testing: 
The Different Kinds of Electronic Testing Equipment    I would like to add that in the event of a suspected electronic failure, it would be wise to send the suspect electronic component to an electronic component test laboratory to evaluate the component.   Continuing to use a malfunctioning component can cause massive damage to the entire electrical device.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts on the JEDEC Standard Update

I feel that the new JESD9B document presents a good structure for external visual inspection of electronic microcircuits covering a wide range of commercial off-the-shelf products manufactured in the plastics arena.  This arena is much more significant to manufacturers today than in 1994, which was the peak time for the Mil-Std-883 Method 2009 which covered only hermetically sealed components.

This updated specification is long overdue and a useful method, combining old and new industry criteria for proper external visual inspection protocols.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Detecting Counterfeit Electronic Components

This opinion piece at raises the issue of counterfeit components originating in China.

Nearly a decade ago our company NJ Micro Electronic Testing began uncovering non-authentic electronic component products that had been purchased for use in Defense Department equipment as well as in the medical and other industrial arenas. These counterfeit components had a varying level of sophistication, but they all failed when tested against the military standards the real parts needed to meet or exceed.
As a response, we devised a state of the art, military standards-based testing program to detect and stop the flow of counterfeit electronic component devices called "Mission Imposter®". It is the world's first counterfeit component detection program. This testing process detects counterfeit electronics before they find their way into a customer's products.

The Mission Imposter process begins with an analysis of the shipping materials and packaging. The parts then undergo several levels of inspection including: marking and dimensional checks, internal visual analysis, several levels of material analysis, and electrical testing to determine authenticity.

The successful implementation of this program has been effective in uncovering imitation electronic devices that began infiltrating the industry close to a decade ago. These counterfeit components can now be detected and stopped. It's important that this happens before they are used in the manufacture of products that could put many projects and many lives in danger.

Friday, July 29, 2011

JEDEC Updates Microelectronic Packages, Covers Standards

I have always found that being a member of JEDEC Solid State Technology Council has been a big asset in keeping technical companies such as our laboratory located in NJ up to date with manufacturing and testing revisions.  The most recent update of the Inspection Criteria for Microelectronic Packages and Covers standard was announced in late June.  (See the announcement.)

As a JEDEC member, I have also attend various industry seminars that have proved valuable to me and to our engineering staff in NJ.  Membership also allows you to participate in the development meetings for future protocols.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Contaminated Foreigh-Made Components Could Open a Back Door to US Systems

It is not a surprise to read that the Department of Homeland Security believes that there are foreign made counterfeit components that have been intentionally tampered with in an effort to allow future cyber attacks. (See this article from ABC News: U.S. Suspects Contaminated Foreign-Made Components Threaten Cyber ....) If these components are used in sensitive electronic systems, those systems would be left open for a cyber warfare attack.

There are several key counterfeit examination tests that can be performed to identify these counterfeit components. To attack this issue immediately one needs to capture all the manufacturer part types and their date codes and perform a sample test evaluation in accordance with Military Standard 105D to uncover any anomalies in accordance with those date codes. For example, if 35,000 products of an LM333 component with a date code of 9912 were manufactured in 1999, it is recommended that a sample of 315 units be evaluated to uncover any suspect signs of counterfeiting.

Once again there are many different scenarios that can be the trigger for this type of investigation. Whatever the trigger, this testing protocol is a good start to the process of identifying compromised counterfeit electronics to contain this evergrowing epidemic. You can check out the variety of testing and professional services NJMET offers at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NJMET showing at DMSMS, Hollywood FL Aug. 29 - Sept 1

NJMET recently released announced their participation at the DMSMS show in September. The release read in part:

" NJMET, Inc. VP Joseph Federico has officially announced their participation and exhibition at the Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida on August 29th through September 1st, 2011.

DMSMS is the loss, or impending loss, of manufacturers or suppliers of items or raw material. The military loses a manufacturer when that manufacturer discontinues (or plans to discontinue) production of needed components or raw materials.

Obsolescence and DMSMS are often used interchangeably. DMSMS is the lack of sources or materials; obsolescence is lack of availability due to statutory, process and design changes. An obsolete product refers to the product in question not being needed anymore, and DMSMS is driven by financial needs pushing the technological requirement of a product out of production but not necessarily out of use.

For the complete press release, see the NJMET press room:

See you there!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

NJMET Joins IEEE Aerospace Electronic Systems Society in 2011

As part of NJMET's ongoing attempts to maintain rigorous standards and certification, NJMET recently joined the IEEE Aerospace Electronic Systems Society for 2011.

The IEEE is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE’s highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.

Others steps we have taken include:
For more infomation about NJMET's membership in IEEE see our recent press release: NJMET Joins IEEE Aerospace Electronic Systems Society in 2011.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Engineering Job opening at NJMET

The following engineering position is open at NJMET:

 Engineering Analyst / Lab Technician

Failure and construction analysis of electronic components have been the primary objective of Component-Analysis.  Using specialized equipment, such as low & high magnification microscopes, high performance digital cameras, XRF etc., NJMET meets our customers' electronic component testing needs.  NJMET is looking for an Engineering Analyst / Lab Technician to work in the following areas of Component Analysis Services:
  • Failure analysis
  • Construction analysis
  • Destructive physical analysis (DPA)
  • XRF Analysis in detection of elements
  • Other chemistry techniques
The successful candidate should have a minimum 3 to 5 years relevant work experience / college degree and equivalent experience. (Electronics / Chemical Engineering or BS Chemistry)

For more information on the position and details on how to apply, see: on the NJMET website.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Expanded Thermal Physical Testing Services at NJMET

As part of NJMET's drive to expand it's testing services, I recently announced plans to provide additional testing for the thermo/physical industries.

The press release, entitled "Joseph Federico Announces Expanded Thermal Physical Testing Services from NJMET, Clifton NJ," received a fair amount of notice.

The release said in part:

Joseph Federico of NJ Micro Electronic Testing is proud to announce the expansion of its laboratory testing services by accommodating the thermo/physical industries with additional testing services.

“Our objective is to provide our world recognized testing services and full service technical support to thermal manufacturers and designers all over the world” said Joseph Federico Vice President of NJ Micro Electronic Testing located in Clifton, NJ.

Expanded Thermal Physical Testing Services is just one area in which NJMET is offering new or expanded services. For example, see  my earlier posts: NJMET Expands Testing Services to Textile Industry and NJMET Announces Analysis of Cosmetic Products.

The complete release can be found in the NMET press room:
The NJMET pressroom contains announcements about other company activities such as our charitable activites and our certification efforts.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Defense and Aerospace at Greater Risk for Counterfeit Parts

The AIA report states that although the threat of counterfeit parts is widespread across industries, “Counterfeit electronic parts may pose the greatest risk to aerospace and defense programs in cost,
schedule, safety and overall mission success.” 

This report is on target. Over the past several years we have seen too many counterfeit electronic components. They can pose a grave danger to our military programs.  As the AIA report states:
“Regardless of how counterfeit parts—whether electronic, mechanical or other—enter the aerospace and defense supply chain, they can jeopardize the performance, reliability and safety of aerospace and defense products. Authentic parts have known performance histories and adhere to the manufacturers’ quality control plans, whereas counterfeit parts have unknown performance reliability and often limited quality controls. The cost of counterfeit parts entering the supply chain is greater than simple replacement of the counterfeit part. Ramifications could include potential product failure, warranty costs, inspections and testing, restocking, lost revenue, exfiltration of electronic data, loss of intellectual property such as trademark value and compromising national security. For space applications, the cost of mission failure may include the potential loss of entire platforms, such as satellites, due to inaccessibility for repair.”

Simply put, fake components are an unknown and can cause our military and space equipment to fail. This report and the Senate hearings I wrote about earlier this month (Armed Services Committee to Investigate Counterfeit Components) are both important steps towards putting the spotlight on the dangers we face from the growing problem of counterfeit electronic components.

NJMET’s Mission Imposter program provides comprehensive testing for counterfeit electronic components. Click here to learn more. NJMET is based in Clifton, NJ with additional offices in Denver, London and Hong Kong.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Counterfeit parts pose risks to government, industry and consumers

Continuing our discussion of the AIA report on counterfeit components:
Although focusing on the issues in the aerospace and defense fields, the report also looked at the issue in the broader marketplace. It found that although the aerospace and defense fields are particularly vulnerable to counterfeit parts, the threat exists in a wide range of industries. As the report states, there is risk for government, industry and consumers:
“The introduction of counterfeit parts — whether they are electronic, mechanical or other — adversely affects the U.S. supply chain. Possible effects may include:

For government:
• National security or civilian safety issues
• Costs of enforcement
• Lost tax revenue due to illegal sales of counterfeit parts

For industry:
• Costs to mitigate this risk
• Costs to replace failed parts
• Lost sales
• Lost brand value or damage to business image

For consumers:
• Costs when products fail due to lower quality and reliability of counterfeit parts
• Potential safety concerns.”

NJMET provides testing for a number of industries in addition to defense and aerospace. Other industries include textile, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

AIA Counterfeit Parts Report

The Aerospace Industry Association’s Counterfeit Parts-Integrated Project Team (CP-IPT) released a report last month detailing the threats posed by counterfeit parts and proposing solutions for both government and industry. Along with leaders in the industry, the effort included a number of organizations and government agencies, such as: SAE International and the Industrial Fasteners Institute, and government agencies such as DOD, including Defense Criminal Investigative Services, Air Force, NAVAIR, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Defense Logistics Agency, NASA, DOJ, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection.

Here is a link to the full report:

Monday, April 4, 2011

NJMET Expands Testing Services to Textile Industry

Joseph Federico announced last week that NJMET is expanding its services to support the textile industry. Joe siad that NJMET's objective is "to provide our world recognized testing program and full service tenchical support to textile designers and manufacturers."

The textile testing services offered by NJMET include wet/dry crocking, hydrostatic water resistance testing and Wyzenbeek Abrasion analysis. These services will be performed at the Clifton, New Jersey laboratory of NJMET.

Armed Services Committee to Investigate Counterfeit Components

This past month, the Senate Armed Services Committee has opened an investigation into counterfeit electronic parts and their effect on national security. In the announcement from the committee, Senator Carl Levin noted the risks posed by counterfeit components to the military – the reliability of weapons systems and the safety of our service men and women. He also noted the damage that counterfeit components can do to the national economy.
The Armed Services committee investigation is a good thing for the industry and for the Department of Defense. I look forward to following the investigation and resulting hearings. Click here to see the announcement from Senator Levin. Click here to see the history of NJMET’s counterfeit component testing program.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NJMET Announces Analysis of Cosmetic Products

Joseph Federico, Vice President of NJMET, Clifton NJ, is proud to announce the expansion of its laboratory testing services by accommodating the cosmetic industry with product ingredient analysis.

“Our objective is to provide our world recognized testing program and full service technical support to cosmetic manufacturers and designers all over the world,” said Joseph Federico, "Testing will take place in NJMET's headquarters and main laboratory located in Clifton, NJ."

“Our trained and certified engineers pride themselves in working on a one on one basis with manufacturers and their customers worldwide to provideaccurate, quality testing. Our engineers customize the test protocols to meet the specific needs of each situation,” Joseph Federico continued.

Testing of cosmetic products is just one part of NJMET’s expansion plans. Late last year, Joseph Federico announced that NJMET would be offering testing services for the pharmaceutical and medical products industries. For a complete list of NJ Micro Electronic Testing’s services visit:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Joseph Federico Announces DSCC-VQC Commercial Laboratory Suitability Status for NJMET Clifton, NJ

Joseph Federico announced NJMET's Defense Logistic Agency’s commercial laboratory suitability in accordance with MIL-STD-883, FSC 5962.

Based on the results of the DSCC audit conducted at their Clifton, NJ headquarters NJMET was rendered suitably equipped to perform the MIL-STD-883 test servicing monolithic microcircuits in accordance with the requirements of military specification MIL-PRF-38535 effective immediately.

The NJMET laboratory is to maintain a record for all microcircuit testing and submit a summary annually to DSCC-VQC which will includes the following information:

a.  Military part number, SMD, or MIL-STD-883 identification
b.  Date code
c.  Quantity tested
d.  Number of devices pass/fail
e.  Manufacturer
f.  Manufacture’s lot number
g.  Test method(s)/condition(s)
h.  Date test completed
i.  Qualification test report number as applicable
j.  Self audit reports with deficiencies and corrective actions

Visit  the NJMET website, for information on all of its testing capabilities and certifications.

For any additional questions concerning NJMET’s suitability status, please contact Joseph Federico, NJMET Inc., Clifton, NJ (973) 546-5393 or visit the DSCC website at

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NJMET Announces AS9100 Rev. B Registration for 2011

NJMET’s Quality Registration has once again met the international requirements of the AS9100 Rev B/ISO 9001:2008 standard.

SGS International recenlty presented Certificates of Registration  to NJMET Quality Engineering Manager and team leader Edgar Usman

This honors over a decade of quality management and technical performance at NJMET,
For more information visit NJMET's website:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Standards-Based Component and Product Testing

As vice president and director of operations, I direct NJMET’s ongoing efforts to ensure standards-based component and product testing. Over the next several blogs, I will detail various steps we have taken to ensure that NJMET continues to meet the state of the art standards.

Joseph Federico Announces NJMET’s 25th Year Membership with ESD: Electrostatic Discharge Association

The ESD Association is a professional voluntary association dedicated to advancing the theory and practice of electrostatic discharge (ESD) avoidance. We are proud to have continued our membership, indicating our committment to proper handling of electronic components.

Over the years, our laboratory staff has taken a tremendous pride in the practice of the proper ESD procedures. From the moment components arrive at our site to the moment they leave our lab, components are handled strictly according to ESD procedures.
To learn more about our NJMET's ESD memebership visit:

To learn more about NJMET visit: