Marvell tech targets fake electronic components

Many hands with mobile phonesMarvell has introduced a chip to verify the authenticity of electrical components, accessories and consumables.

The security chip, called the PA800, allows a device to cryptographically check if a component or accessory is counterfeit. Marvell has tried to keep the cost of the technology low to make it viable for use in consumer electronics like mobile phones, tablets and printers.

In a printer, for example, the PA800 chip is installed in ink cartridges. Technology in the printer then looks for the chip to confirm the cartridge is authentic. Information on capabilities, fill level, manufacturing date and other attributes is also passed from the cartridge to the printer.

Similarly, when installed in a mobile phone or tablet the chip verifies the authenticity of batteries, chargers and docking hubs. Other companies, notably Blackberry, are also looking at ways to ensure consumers use genuine mobile phone parts and accessories.

Anti-cloning and tampering technology is built into the chips. Marvell presented the technology at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. Samples of PA800 will be available from July.

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