Fake USB Flash Drives

Today my boss put 3x Kingston Data Traveler 150 – 64GB Flash drives down on my desk and asked me to take a look at them and see if I could find out whats wrong with them. The drives came from a guy who works in the warehouse at one of our clients, supposedly all of a sudden he couldn’t write to them anymore.

Immediately I was suspicious these flash drives cost over R 1000 each, why did someone buy 3 flash drives instead of an external hard drive? why would 3 of them fail at the same time with the same problem? and who has R 3000 (or more) sitting around to blow on flash drives?

The minute I held the drives they felt “cheap”, normally Kingston flash drives are well built… these drives looked cheap, the labeling wasn’t cut correctly and the screen printing of the the Kingston logo didn’t look right.

Plugging the drives into a machine showed that they were all read only, however it was the actual device that was read only and not just the partitions or files. The other odd thing was that the activity LED’s on the devices didn’t light up.

I had read about fake flash devices before on Bunnie’s Blog, so I started doing some searching online to see if anyone had perhaps a simple way of finding out if the drives were fake. I was all prepared with USB PID’s and VID’s but it turns out none of that was needed… I found a website called SOSFakeFlash that has tons of entries about fake flash drives being sold on Ebay a little bit of searching on the site found the following article on how to spot a fake DT150.

The simplest way of telling if its a real Kingston flash drive is to look for the laser etched serial no, model no and other details on the USB plug.

I’m not sure exactly where the guy bought the flash drives from… I doubt it was from Ebay so I just want to warn people that these fake devices are in South Africa, so please keep an eye out and be careful when you’re shopping.

If you’re buying something then the simple rule of “If its too good to be true, it probably is…” is a pretty good one to stick too.