Kingston microSD fakes prompt “ghost shift” investigation

Feb 23, 2010
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Kingston microSD fakes prompt “ghost shift” investigation

Who would've thought memory cards could be so full of intrigue.  Andrew "bunnie" Huang - whose name you might remember from inside the chumby One - was prompted to investigate an apparent bad batch of Kingston microSD cards when the touchscreen widget device (which stores its OS on a microSD) started acting up.  He went on to discover that his dodgy batch was in fact the tip of a fake card iceberg, which seems to suggest Kingston's suppliers have been producing so-called "ghost shift" fakes during factory downtime, with Kingston's brand but serious quality shortcomings.

To figure that out, bunnie had to go round collecting various real and fake memory cards.  The latter would sometimes be out in huge trays, with street vendors dropping the cards into Kingston packaging and slapping on an "authenticity" hologram and serial number.

"One vendor in particular interested me; it was literally a mom, pop and one young child sitting in a small stall of the mobile phone market, and they were busily slapping dozens of non-Kingston marked cards into Kingston retail packaging. They had no desire to sell to me, but I was persistent" Andrew "bunnier" Huang

After stripping down the various samples with nitric acid and acetone, it was revealed that several of the Kingston-branded cards were in fact fakes, and that even the authentic Kingston cards used Sandisk or Toshiba chips.  It's an interesting - if technical - read, but if you're thinking of picking up a new memory card (or trying to save a few bucks by grabbing one in your local market) you should definitely take a look.

[via Red Ferret Journal]


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