Why Finding a Quality Supplier is Especially Important in a Shortage Market
December 26th, 2018
When countering threats from malware to counterfeit and non-conforming parts, you don’t have to go it alone — even in a shortage market.
Demand for electronic components drives the risk of non-conforming products entering the void. With new techniques in constant development by savvy counterfeiters, here are a few new threats cropping up in the industry… and ways that a trustworthy supplier can help you weed them out.
Spearphising threats are more acute than ever.
ERAI reports that they’ve seen an uptick in highly sophisticated phishing, with malware attachments that are used to steal sensitive personal or business information for malicious purposes.
“Spearphishing” is a targeted attempt to breach a system or take data that appears to come from a trusted source. Malware can come in the form of an attachment or link cleverly disguised to look valid. Reported attacks on the electronic components industry include techniques such as using retired employees’ identities to send phishing emails with corrupt attachments.
How to prevent this threat? Work with a trusted business partner that uses ERAI or another reporting system to stay on the alert for these threats. Your supplier should have a finger on the pulse of the latest threats in the industry. An experienced provider knows that no threat is too small to ignore. Despite the shortage market, now is not the time to risk your reputation on an unknown or inexperienced electronic components supplier.
A recent report by the U.S. Government’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) on espionage in cyberspace details numerous occasions where malware was used to steal data, breach systems and interfere with operations. The report details how industrial espionage poses a threat to U.S. security and has impacted U.S. defense contractors. A good partner will stay on top of security on all fronts and update partners to industry problems such as spearfishing. While the threat to high-reliability verticals is clear, spearphising and malware can strike any vertical in the electronic components industry.
Clones: not just science fiction?
The possibility of parts cloning represents a concerning evolution in the counterfeit and non-conforming parts arena. The electronics shortage drives higher quality counterfeiting, to precision levels that make counterfeit parts harder to detect than ever before. ERAI reports that there is some debate in the industry about the existence of cloning, due to the lack of manufacturer-provided details on parts. Parts flagged as a possible clones include a host of very subtle differences from the known good device. One thing is clear: whether clones or high-quality counterfeit, vigilance for problems beyond the standard “e-waste-passing-as-refurbished” is critical.
Your supplier should offer a multi-pronged, completely transparent quality control process to confront subtle threats like cloned parts. If you have any questions about the quality assurance process, make sure your supplier offers not only the answers you need, but also provides visibility into their process. Do they use inspectors or engineers to evaluate parts? How are their inspectors accredited? Where are their facilities located, and do standards vary between locations? The answers to these questions will give you insight into how your supplier is addressing quality control.
Your suppliers: partners in supply chain security.
While it is ideal to build strong supplier relationships while business is good, that isn’t always possible during an extended shortage where there is constant pressure to get the parts you need, now. But if you are in urgent need of parts, you still need to do your research. Don’t resort to less-than-optimal suppliers.
High-reliability verticals are just as vulnerable, maybe even more so, to the threat of non-conforming parts. Your supplier should take an active role in reporting counterfeit and non-conforming parts. As part of the global electronics supply chain, we are all responsible for elevating the standards of electronic components. Learn more about how Velocity guards against threats to the supply chain.
Effective Counterfeit Electronic Components Mitigation Starts with the Supplier: What to Look For
4 Steps to Exceptional Quality Conformance for Electronic Components
How Can You Overcome an Electronic Components Shortage?