Applied DNA Sciences today announced that it has rolled out high-volume, high-throughput SigNature® DNA-marking technology geared to the biggest firms in the electronics industry, including manufacturers and prime contractors to the U.S. Defense Department.
The firm’s partners are being trained in the mass-application process known as pad printing, ultraviolet (UV) curing, and in other techniques supporting massive production flows. UV curing, for example, typically adheres the uncopyable SigNature DNA marks to components in seconds. The UV process lends itself to marking delicate / sensitive components without direct handling of the parts themselves during the marking or curing process, a condition stipulated by several primes.
A Massachusetts man was indicted yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice for selling counterfeit semiconductors which the DOJ stated were intended for use in nuclear submarines. The indictment does not reveal whether the counterfeit electronic parts were actually used on the submarines, but the Connecticut news site theday reported that at least three counterfeit parts “wound up” at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base at Groton, Connecticut.
According to the indictment, Peter Picone and “co-conspirators” shipped the fake semiconductors to the New London base between November, 2011, and February, 2012. One of the counterfeit devices was intended for an alarm panel, while another was to be used in a radio-transmission test, both aboard active-duty nuclear submarines, said theday.
The DOJ also linked Picone, who headed Epic International Electronics of Methuen, Massachusetts, and formerly owned electronics distributor Tytronix Inc., to the sales of counterfeit items other than electronics, most from Hong Kong or China. Buyers received these parts in Connecticut and Florida. The DOJ disclosed that a Florida defense contractor in Florida received 33 integrated circuits from Picone for repair work on an active-duty nuclear sub’s secondary propulsion system.
The indictment pointed up the urgent need to take immediate steps to control counterfeit parts sold to the military. While some are proposing a go-slow approach by the Office of Secretary of Defense, which this month has been working on new anti-counterfeiting requirements for defense contractors, the need for immediate action has never been greater. Such a step has already by initiated by the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, which requires suppliers of certain parts to use Applied DNA Science’s SigNature DNA authentication platform.
Less noticed in initial reports about the indictment was was the DOJ’s own press release noting that counterfeits can be a vehicle for malicious code and network attacks by hostile entities, thus posing a direct national security threat. Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Northeast Field Office Cheryl A. DiPrizio commented that “Some of these counterfeit devices can also be preprogrammed with malicious code and enable computer network intrusion. “
Said Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly: “Counterfeit semiconductors pose a serious health and safety risk to consumers and end-users, and an even greater threat to the safety of the men and women of our armed services when they are sold for use in the military. We will prosecute these types of cases to the fullest extent of the law.”