Nandinium's Blog

Fake Flash memory investigator

A NEW Flash Baby comes on the scene

with 6 comments

Sandisk Cruzer “Blade”

One of the smallest USB Flash drives in the market today

Nandinium does the H2testw test on a new 16GB micro Flash

I’ve always been cautious about flash memory ever since I got caught with a fake Kingston 32GB described HERE

I’ve tended to buy  small circa 2-4GB drives only,  I really do not need anything much larger,  certainly I am not in a race to show the largest Flash on the street (A truly Male pastime),  so the brave move up to 16GB has been taken with great consideration,  after much research of sellers and prices.

I have always trusted Sandisk, my previous purchases of 1GB, 2Gb and 4GB “U3” models have never let me down,  so when the time came to purchase a larger basket to put my precious digital eggs in,  Sandisk was an obvious contender.

Here is “the Blade”

Here is the test report from h2testw

The speed is impressive, that’s for sure,  a good 4mBytes/sec writing,  with a creditable 13mBytes/sec reading speed.

This Flash drive comes in a neat card package showing on the front it’s capacity in GB and on the rear a complex bar code and unique serial number that contains the actual capacity of the drive,  i.e 016GB for this one.

Sandisk offer a two year warranty,  you can register and/or check your model at http://www.sandisk.com/wug

Here is a *** W A R N I N G * * *  Currently Sandisk make only 4GB, 8GB & 16GB in this model so if you see 32GB advertised on eBay or anywhere, be suspicious,  check with Sandisk at

http://www.sandisk.com/wug      FIRST,  and as always IF you do buy, check with H2testw BEFORE

giving any feedback to the seller,  IF you got a FAKE, then   NEGATIVE FEEDBACK  must be the only option.  NEVER change your feedback to get a  REFUND  You will have been a victim of FRAUD Make sure the seller knows your feelings, and others that check, too.

Purchases can be made at http://www.mymemory.com  and at emaxusb  (via eBay)  As always,  be

careful where you buy,  and from whom,  best avoid any seller in the orient,  and CHECK the PRICE,  anyone offering these at a £3.00 start will most likely be trying to sell you a fake, the current price for 8GB is around £15.00  and the 16GB is in the £20.00 region.  BOTH the above mentioned traders have supplied me with genuine original flash drives,  both offer a fast service and have a good customer support.

Written by nandinium

July 8, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Real Flash

Tagged with

A Pointless Exercise (and some reasons WHY)

with 6 comments

Having been caught (ONCE) buying flash memory on eBay I vowed to never get caught AGAIN, not only that I also vowed to do my best (Ala a Scout Dib dib dib, Dob dob dob)  to warn others about the dangers of buying ANYTHING containing FLASH memory on eBay.

For more than one year I have been involved investigating eBay sellers, their wares, their feedback,  advising them to check the accuracy of their claims and their buyers to test their purchases.

Apart from a few positive responses from informed buyers,  seeing them refunded,  and the warm feeling of knowing I have helped someone,  most of the time I have got abuse from sellers,  told to mind my own business from buyers, and been almost totally ignored by eBay on the many items reported to them.

To make the situation even more frustrating,  I have had advisory auctions removed by ebay on flimsy excuses,  even removed manufacturers names and logo’s to comply,  still had auctions removed and worse had my selling account frozen a few times,  all for what?

I’ll tell you.. Nothing!  The situation is still just as bad, eBay are still ignoring the problem,  failing to take action on the REAL villains,  those fraudulent sellers that are making eBay so much in listing fee’s,  no they prefer to penalise those that are putting up warnings,  the easy targets.

So what to do now…?   I’ll tell you what I am going to do  NOTHING

I am NOT going to post warnings,  I am NOT going to contact sellers that are selling obvious fakes,  I am NOT going to warn buyers and advise to test,  in fact I am NOT going to get involved with the problem anymore… WHY?

Simply because BUYERS have POWER,  buyers have FEEDBACK as a very threatening tool yet they are either too timid,  or plain STUPID to use it.  SELLERS fear bad feedback it is a positive example,  evidence if you like of their poor trading,  BUYERS should use it when it is deserved and not be afraid of seller retaliation.  eBay has organised the feedback in the BUYERS favour,  NO seller can give a buyer a NEGATIVE, the only option is POSITIVE,  so WHY be afraid?

To give you an example of one case,  the main  reason I decided that eBay buyers are beyond help.  One seller was advised that the items they were auctioning were false capacity,  instead of removing the auction and checking,  the went ahead and sold it to an unsuspecting buyer.

When it became obvious that the item was false,  after the buyer was advised to test it,  they left NEGATIVE feedback for the seller and were subsequently refunded.  What did this buyer then do? the FOOL withdraw the NEGATIVE feedback and praised the SELLER for being HONEST,   leaving a known fraudster without a blemish on their trading record.  I say known fraudster,  because examining his feedback revealed he had purchased the same item days before,  the item being advertised as FAULTY,  so knowingly he intended to re-sell a faulty item at a vast profit.  Hardly the behavior of an HONEST person.

With IDIOTS like this around and  eBay being full of scam merchants out to make a fast greedy buck,  I say good luck to them.  Ebay is full of absolutely STUPID IGNORANT buyers that deserve all they get,  driven by GREED to such a degree that what little reasoning power they ever DID have,  flys out of the window once the bidding gets going.

Good luck to all buyers,  don’t rely on eBay and PayPal to get you out of the SHIT,  they won’t.  You buy Flash memory on eBay you are ON YOUR OWN,  You made your own BED,  now go and sleep on it.

To all the REAL genuine sellers of REAL quality Flash memory (and there are a few I have dealt with)  I say HARD LUCK,  sorry you have to be in competition with the CRAP sellers but that’s the way it is on eBay.

Specially to a friend that I have tried to help over the past year, thank you for what you have done and are still doing to highlight this serious situation.

Me,  I am giving up the fight,  the results are not worth the effort..

Written by nandinium

June 28, 2010 at 10:28 am

More REAL FLASH drives this time VERBATIM

with 4 comments

Verbatim do a nice range of flash drives complete with security software for encrypting the content.

For all major manufacturers of flash drives,  counterfeiting is a real pain,  so far Verbatim has not been hit as far as I know,  but it is time to be on your guard just in case.

Some pictures of a REAL Verbatim, what to look for, and some test results of a 4GB sample using h2testw.

You should notice the size in GigaBytes engraved on the metal cover (shown highlited here in blue) normally this will be hard to see.  Additionally the device serial number is printed on the edge of the device..

If you see this EXACT number on a drive you have, then you probably have a FAKE!!

Test Results from H2testw

Verbatim 4GB Flash drive Verification report

Warning: Only 3809 of 3816 MByte tested.
Test finished without errors.
Reading speed: 19.0 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

Contents of drive after running H2testw



The CarryItEasy.exe  and the PDF files are supplied with the device. The other files are part of the H2testw program, it’s README files in English and German and its test blocks of DATA written to and read from the flash memory (.H2w)

Written by nandinium

February 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

Posted in Real Flash

Tagged with

Feedback Scams on eBay

with 2 comments

New methods of faking feedback to get a good rating:

This is a variation on an original theme,  in this case the items sold will be fake counterfeit flash memory,  previously discovered as fake as a result of refunding buyers. Seller ONE offers these fake items up for auction. Buyer ONE bids for and wins some of these, duly gives good feedback to seller ONE, but states items were faulty, and how nice of the seller to refund with no quibbles. Result: glowing feedback for seller!
Of course there was no actual transaction, no money, just fake feedback, and because as we all know that buyers on ebay lack a certain wisdom and will bid anything to get their hands on the latest posing large flash memory, the price rockets:
Stage TWO: Buyer ONE now auctions the same fake items and guess what? Seller ONE now becomes the bidder and chases up the price, clinching the deal, later issues feedback to buyer ONE as the seller, stating how nice he is as he refunded instantly because the item was “faulty”… and so folks on it goes:
Result, two sellers of fake flash get elevated feedback from each other, full of flowery sweet comments, no money changes hands, in fact the only money ever spent is probably that when the original buyer brought the fakes from another fraudulent seller.
How nice of ebay to hide bidders names, now its free for all to sell what you like, bid it up to what price you like with another account.

Of course  we all know WHO WINS in this situation,  certainly NOT the punter,  no this honour goes to the owners and share holders of the auction site,  oh and PAYPAL too.

Written by nandinium

January 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Testing a REAL Kingston Flash Card (4GB SDHC class 4)

with one comment

Kingston SDHC Flash cards

Serial number sticker

Retail packaging

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by nandinium

January 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Posted in Flash Fraud

Tagged with

Let me tell you all a story!!

with 15 comments

It goes like this… Once upon a time.. Nah never mind, you’ve probably heard this one before.

Let me give you all a few facts…. Flash memory chips, USB memory sticks, MP3 players etc!
It has been written from research by those FAR LONGER in the game than I, that 90-95% of all these items are either fake capacity or poor performing counterfeits made to look like the products of such leaders in the technology as Kingston, SanDisk, Transcend.

I am going to present here just one example of a fake Kingston DT200 look-alike.  This model has only been out 6 months, comes in 3 sizes  32GB, 64GB & 128GB, each variety  has a different colour inner part,  so the version is easily recognisable.  It didn’t take the counterfeiters long to come up with their version of the housing,  which to the untrained eye is identical to the real one,  the difference is only noticeable once you pop the lid off the casing,  then you see not a nice large printed circuit board with all the right microchips and bits,  but a tiny and rather tatty looking printed board,  roughly finished off,  crammed up into one end of the case.

 

Kingston DT200 (Fake) Top View

Turning the device over reveals the removeable cover

 

Kingston DT200 (Fake) Back View

Removing the cover plate,  reveals the inner workings

 

Kingston DT200 (Fake) Inside view

NOTE all the spare “Real Estate” in the box,  and the bottom view of the printed board with the vital FLASH memory chip.

Kingston DT200 (Fake) Flash Chip

All the evidence that would point to the actual capacity of the flash chip has conveniently been removed by a process of scouring,  normally the surface of this chip would be smooth and shiny with the makers part number containing the actual capacity in megabits.

On test this fake USB stick returned only 500 Kbytes of real capacity (1/2 of 1MB),  the remaining of the stated 32GB was returned as corrupted and overwritten,  meaning that test program (H2testw) had tried to write it’s unique pattern of data over and over into the same small area of real memory.

Another piece of damning evidence observable during the test is the slow speed at which the test program was able to write to the fake device,  about 2 mbytes/second the makers of the genuine article quote write speeds of 15-20 m bytes/second and a read speed in excess of 20 mbytes/second,  so with this fake you not only didn’t get the capacity you paid for,  you also didn’t get the speed you expected…

Report from H2testw v1.4 after freshly formatting the FAKE USB drive

(Test limited to 1000mB to save time)

Warning: Only 1000 of 32484 MByte tested.
The media is likely to be defective.
535.5 KByte OK (1071 sectors)
999.4 MByte DATA LOST (2046929 sectors)
Details:518.3 MByte overwritten (1061580 sectors)
58.5 KByte slightly changed (< 8 bit/sector, 117 sectors)
481.0 MByte corrupted (985232 sectors)
594 KByte aliased memory (1188 sectors)
First error at offset: 0x0000000000000000
Expected: 0x0000000000000000
Found: 0x000000003e700200
H2testw version 1.3
Writing speed: 2.07 MByte/s
Reading speed: 3.87 MByte/s
H2testw v1.4

From this figure of 535 KBytes I must conclude the real capacity of the FLASH chip was probably 512 KBytes,  so most likely a 4 mbit capacity chip (Bits=8 times Bytes)

For a general view of all Kingston Flash products, so you may recognise them

go to KINGSTON

To follow the day-to-day reports of suspect flash sellers on eBay visit FIGHTFLASHFRAUD

and for details of past and present proven fraudulent sellers SOSFAKEFLASH

Written by nandinium

December 5, 2009 at 11:59 pm

DANGEROUS Power supplies on eBay

with 2 comments

Destruction of switched mode power supply supplied with HD docking station

(from eBay)

Here is my hypothesis on the destruction of this small dual voltage switched mode PSU

These PSU’s are constructed cheaply in the far east, they have inadequate fusing protection
and no EMC noise filtering. The main active device, a power FET device is mounted on a small
aluminium plate internal to the printed circuit board, it has no outward facing faces so all
heat created by the power FET is retained in the plate, none is radiated to the outside which
is a minimum requirement to keep the device temperature to a safe working level.

It is obvious to me from the melted solder on the connection pins of this device, that far
too much heat built up within the device causing it to fail, this failure short circuited the
250V DC on the 47uF capacitor and resulted in the destruction of the 4 diode rectifier bridge
this put the full AC mains across the capacitor and resulted in the vaporisation of the PCB
tracks from the mains connector to the diode bridge, it also destroyed the fuse which should
have been the first fail safe device, since there was no evidence of any wire left within the
shattered fuse body, it is not possible to gauge its current rating. 1 Amp is normal in this
type of PSU. Certainly, judging by the thickness of the destroyed copper tracks, this fuse was
not of a suitable rating.

I have included some pictures of the device (1) and some of the internals (3-6) described above,
also a picture of the illegal plug (2) supplied by an eBay seller with the docking station
and (7) the web site advert for one supplier of these items showing another suspect PSU
and clearly showing the illegal plug.

1.    PSU Picture

2.    Illegal Plug

3.    Burnt Casing

4.    Burnt PCB

5.    PCB Top View

6.    PCB Damage

Be WARNED if you use similar power supply units,  supplied by sellers in the far east.

Sorry the image hosting location seems to have gone offline with all my pictures I’ve loaded them up directly now.

Written by nandinium

November 9, 2009 at 7:38 pm

Posted in Danger