Author Topic: Counterfeit memory sticks  (Read 481 times)

Offline MRMILSTAR

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Counterfeit memory sticks
« on: April 28, 2020, 09:34:13 PM »
Maybe most members are already aware of Chinese counterfeit USB flash memory sticks. If not, here's a warning. I see a lot of memory sticks on E-Bay and Amazon that purport to have an extremely large amount of memory that costs almost nothing. For example I saw a 2 TB USB memory stick on FB today for about $25! It even offered buy one get one free!

Everyone should be aware that almost any memory stick can have its internal software hacked to make it appear to be almost any size. For example a 8 GB stick can be hacked to appear to have 2 TB. Windows Explorer will indicate 2 TB but that isn't what you have. Your only indication of a counterfeit will be when you try and write more data to the stick than it actually has. Your data will then usually begin to over-write itself. Many people don't realize for a long time that they are fake until that day when they finally try to exceed its actual memory capacity.

I regret to say it but the only reliable place to buy a USB flash memory stick is a brick-and mortar store. If you buy one on-line you are almost guaranteed to get a counterfeit if it is a very low price and high capacity. Brand names are no guarantee on-line because they are counterfeited as much as anything else.

Any memory sticks advertised to be larger than 256 GB are guaranteed to be counterfeit. If you check any of the major manufacturers such as Sandisk, Kingston, Sony, etc. you will see that none of them makes anything larger than 256 GB.

I bought one of these several years ago and learned the hard way. At the time I bought what was supposedly a 256 GB stick but it was actually 8 GB. The problem vexed me for a while. I even tried re-formatting the drive but I eventually figured out it was fake. The crook wouldn't even refund my money. Been there, done that.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 09:57:45 PM by MRMILSTAR »
Steve White
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Retired electrical engineer

Offline davekni

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2020, 06:16:17 AM »
Counterfeit flash drives are also a source of malware, as the US military discovered in IRAQ.  Flash drives bypass most of the normal layers of protection.  More likely for consumers is advertising malware (which I got once).  But I know of at least one case a while back (that was likely from a USB drive) where a computer at work started emailing large blocks of data to an address in China.  I suspect we have many quietly-infected computers around the world that are spying and/or zombies ready for a triggered attack.
David Knierim

Offline klugesmith

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2020, 06:34:28 AM »
We can only hope that "our side" government agencies are as proficient as "their side" agencies,
when it comes to producing as well as countering good spyware, social media manipulation, etc.
Witness Stuxnet attack on Iranian uranium enrichment program, delivered by USB sticks.

Trouble is, FBI/CIA/NSA (in USA) need to compete for talent with giant commercial actors who do evil things.   
Next to which, I think plain old cybercriminals are a smaller burden on society.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2020, 02:00:21 AM by klugesmith »

Offline MRMILSTAR

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2020, 10:07:07 PM »
About 10 years ago before I retired and was working for an aerospace contractor, I was waiting at our local airport for departure to a conference when I noticed a USB flash memory stick laying on a seat. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. Several days later after I returned to my office, I popped in the memory stick to see what was on it. This was at a time before it was common knowledge that malware could be spread on a memory stick. It turned out that another employee at our company had accidentally left it at the airport and I returned it to him. I did notice that it was full of company engineering data. Lucky that I found it.

Today, if I saw a memory stick laying around at the airport I would still pick it up but there is no way I would insert it into my PC. If I had a sacrificial PC not connected to the internet I would probably take a look at its contents.
Steve White
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Retired electrical engineer

Offline John123

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2020, 12:43:22 AM »
My Dad fell for this fake capacity memory stick scam twice even after I ran a capacity check program and showed him.

"But windows says its a 256gb stick so it must be 256gb!".

Offline ritaismyconscience

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2020, 06:36:17 PM »
Tell your dad to put a large file on the flash drive.

If it's fake he won't be able to fit more than 8GB on it.

Offline John123

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 06:41:53 PM »
Tell your dad to put a large file on the flash drive.

If it's fake he won't be able to fit more than 8GB on it.

I gave up trying to convince him, I think it tested as 16gb when I tested it.

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Re: Counterfeit memory sticks
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2020, 06:41:53 PM »

 


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