Faulty Flash Memory Chips – Are They Really Faulty Or Have They Been Hacked To Lie About Their Real Capacity?
Posted by techchips on April 19, 2010
Faulty implies a manufacturing defect – there is nothing “faulty” about flash memory chips reprogrammed to lie about their actual capacity. This practice is very common in the Orient. The nand flash memory chips are digitally altered using low level formatting tools. Quite a few usb controller chips are easily manipulated. The most common are found in Alcor, AMECO, iCreate and Micov families.
Software is widely available often the same software used to prepare the chips in Fabs for correct capacity. Digital alteration is commonly referred to as “Hacked” memory. Is it difficult to do?
The InspectorTech and TechChips teams in the FrankenFlash project have successfully and repeatedly altered flash memory chips to lie about their actual capacity and to restore them to their genuine size. The tools used? The same ones readily available for the vendor families of the usb controller chips.
Manual inspection of “fakes” disassembled reveal the truth about the flash storage chips. It involves decoding the serial information and searching at the manufacturers site for the real capacity.
When flash memory items are tested with H2testw the real capacity of the flash memory storage chip is detected. Checking the flash memory chip at a vendors size for capacity confirms the report of H2testw. This software also detects low grade chips. For example the chip is 2 GB real capacity and H2testw reports only 1.8 or 1.7 GB usable, this is a bad sign. It means the chip used is grade c or d quality and should have been destroyed.
When buyers complain about flash memory items not being useable at their advertised capacity or loose information, resellers and wholesalers are very good at conning buyers into believing the items sent were faulty or defective.
Who wants to believe that people would actually sell flash memory that causes data loss? Or that large companies in the Orient would reprogramme flash memory chips to lie – super size them?
This practise of “Upgrading” (the term sellers use in the Orient) flash memory will continue. So long as people can be made to believe they received “faulty” items, those who reprogramme flash memory and sell false capacity will have a license to fraud. Buyers will continue to lose money and data once they exceed the real size of the flash memory storage chip.