The threat of counterfeiting in computer hardware industry

Personal computers have become an important part of our lives. People young or old have become accustomed to using computers for a score of activities. With the boom of hand-held devices, computers now rest in our palms and laps, making it convenient for us to perform things at the click of a button. However, the humongous computer and IT industry have been facing the threat of counterfeiting and it has affected the profits and growth of big organisations. Besides this consumer are being duped with cheap products which lead to monetary loss and data loss.

There is also a growing trend of counterfeit software packed in original and authentic packaging. This illicit practice is quite old but has scaled upwards drastically over the past few years causing trouble for the consumers and manufacturers.

Counterfeiting in the computer hardware industry is done in different ways. From using a lower specification component to using cheap grade parts and refurbished parts. For example, a typical PC sold with Pentium IV microprocessor can be incorporated with cheap grade remarked microprocessor.

Forgers often make some technical changes which show that operating system software and the chip as Pentium IV. In this, the consumer is not able to identify that he has provided with a PC with altogether different specifications.

In memory chips and hard disks, there are certain modules that are repaired and refurbished and later utilized in new computers. Many times, a lot of old used components are segregated and collected to be later used by counterfeiters.

Most of the counterfeit manufacturers used old products in new casings and packaging and sell them as brand-new monitors. An example can be Mechanical keyboards that are actually Membrane keyboards embedded with thin metal sheets.

Often PCs with licensed operating system have pirated copies of the software and are supposed as original due to high-quality imitation. But its not just limited to single consumer purchase even large organisations have to bear the brunt of counterfeiting.

While the consumer has to bear the monetary loss there are also many other implications of counterfeit computer hardware and software. There are high chances of malfunctioning even under normal conditions. A little fluctuation in voltage can cause severe damage to the microprocessor and other components. In such a situation the repairing cost of the computer can be really high.

IT plays one of the most important roles in the functioning of an organisation and regular system failure, server malfunctioning or malware can lead to high maintenance cost, loss of productivity and many times the loss of important data. It has been observed that the cost of maintenance of cheap grade IT is much higher than buying a branded product.