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Uncovering Counterfeit External HD: Risks, Precautions, and Identification

Uncovering Counterfeit External HD: Risks, Precautions, and Identification

External hard drives, popularly known as external HDDs, are practical and efficient storage devices that have revolutionized the way we handle our data and are an excellent option for backup.

However, like other products on the market, the growth in demand for these devices has brought with it a growing concern: the proliferation of counterfeit external hard drives.

What is a counterfeit external HDD?

Fake External HDs are low quality replicas that pose as legitimate devices. They are generally produced with inferior quality materials, have adulterated storage capacity and, in many cases, do not offer the performance and reliability expected from a genuine HDD.

Counterfeiters usually falsify the maximum LBA of the device to make it appear that it has a capacity much higher than the real one. In practice, this makes immediate identification difficult because it is normally a smaller device that will only fail when its real capacity is reached.

Risks Associated with Counterfeit External Hard Drives:

Using a counterfeit external hard drive can lead to several risks. The advertised storage capacity may be false, leading to unexpected data loss when the actual space is exceeded. Additionally, the durability and reliability of these devices may be compromised, resulting in premature failures and irreparable loss of important data.

How to Identify a Counterfeit External HD?

  • Suspicious Price: The main item to check is the prices. Be wary of prices that are well below the market. Excessively cheap offers may indicate that the product is counterfeit. There is no magic.
  • Check Packaging and Design: Counterfeit HDDs often have poorly printed packaging, misspellings, or slightly different designs than the original models. Compare the packaging with the official manufacturer's photos and descriptions.
  • Manufacturer Authenticity: Check if the manufacturer is legitimate. Official websites and authorized dealers are reliable sources to purchase genuine products.
  • Performance and Capacity Test: Run performance tests and check the actual capacity of the external HDD. Diagnostic tools can help determine whether the advertised capacity matches the actual capacity.
Counterfeit External HDD

16GB flash drive tampered with 2TB and metal weights on a counterfeit external hard drive.

Tracking Authenticity: How to Stay Safe and Avoid Purchasing Counterfeit External Hard Drives

  • Buy from Trusted Sources: Choose to buy from trusted physical or online stores, such as authorized resellers and websites known for selling legitimate products.
  • Previous Search: Before making a purchase, conduct thorough research on the specific model you plan to buy. Analyze user reviews, ratings, and product information.
  • Check Warranty: Legitimate products usually come with a manufacturer's warranty. Check that the external hard drive you are considering is warranted and consistent with the brand's policies.
  • Test the Product: Once you have purchased your external hard drive, test it immediately. Transfer files, check the actual capacity, and run performance tests to ensure that it is as advertised.

Another way to check the authenticity of the HDD is to search the manufacturer's website using the product's Serial Number (S/N).

You will not only know if the HD is under warranty, but also information about the item under suspicion. See below for the 3 main manufacturers:

In a saturated and sometimes tumultuous market, identifying and preventing counterfeit external hard drives has become a necessity. Taking precautionary measures and carrying out thorough research before purchasing are crucial steps to avoid falling into fraudulent traps.

Tampered External HDD

160GB Hitachi HDD with firmware tampered with to look like a 2TB Samsung HDD


In short, counterfeiting of external hard drives is a serious problem that can result in data loss, financial losses and frustration for consumers. Investing time in verifying the authenticity of the product and purchasing from trusted sources is essential for protecting your data and ensuring a solid investment in a reliable storage device.

Remember: vigilance is the best defense against counterfeiting.

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