Counterfeit Electronics as a Terrorist Tool
Winning my award for dumb movie-plot threat of the week, here’s someone who thinks that counterfeit electronics are a terrorist tool:
Counterfeit Electronics as Weapons of Mass Disruption?
Some customers may consider knockoff clothing and watches to be good values, but counterfeit electronics can be devastating. What would happen, then, if some criminal element bent on wreaking havoc and inducing public panic were to intentionally introduce such a bogus product into the electronics supply chain — malfunctioning printed-circuit boards in a critical air-traffic-control system, say, or faulty parts into automobile braking systems? Even the suggestion that such an act had occurred might set off a wave of recalls and might ground suspect systems.
EDITED TO ADD (6/2): Here’s another article:
“Many attacks of this kind would have two components. One would alter the process control system to produce a defective product. The other would alter the quality control system so that the defect wouldn’t easily be detected,” Borg says. “Imagine, say, a life-saving drug being produced and distributed with the wrong level of active ingredients. This could gradually result in large numbers of deaths or disabilities. Yet it might take months before someone figured out what was going on.” The result, he says, would be panic, people afraid to visit hospitals and health services facing huge lawsuits.
Deadly scenarios could occur in industry, too. Online outlaws might change key specifications at a car factory, Borg says, causing a car to “burst into flames after it had been driven for a certain number of weeks”. Apart from people being injured or killed, the car maker would collapse. “People would stop buying cars.” A few such attacks, run simultaneously, would send economies crashing. Populations would be in turmoil. At the click of a mouse, the terrorists would have won.