Researchers in Germany are instructing companies and developing ways to safeguard against product pirates.
The researchers at the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC advise companies on how best to protect their products and IT services.
AISEC said pirated goods cost the German industry billions and machine tool manufacturers were becoming a growing target. Around one third of companies had seen their business eroded by cheap imitations of their products, especially manufacturers of textile machines, compressors and plastics processing equipment, it said.
“Most companies have absolutely no idea just how easily their products can be copied,” said Bartol Filipovic, head of the product protection department at AISEC.
AISEC said most companies reacted only once counterfeits of their own products were on the market. In addition to conducting research, AISEC’s most important role was instructive, and it offers a service that analyses a company’s product protection.
The researchers said companies should make sure that suitable protection mechanisms were placed deep within the hardware when developing each new product range.
“The optimum scenario is for clients to consult AISEC before completing this phase, and have their developers share the proposed hardware setup, circuit diagrams and software with AISEC’s product protection team – in strictest confidence, of course. AISEC’s researchers analyze this information to identify any weaknesses and offer suggestions for making the product more secure,” AISEC said.
It was definitely worthwhile for companies to analyse and develop suitable technical safeguards, said Filipovic. “The service we provide is less costly than the damages inflicted by product piracy.”
AISEC said companies that implemented its recommendations enjoyed at least five to ten years relief from attacks by product counterfeiters.