Both PCBA clone and IC crack belong to reverse engineering. It seems that they are not related very much, but actually circuit board is support body and electrical connection’s provider for chip; on the other hand, chip is the core component of electronic products, carrying computing and storage functions. Without IC, PC board has no real value. Hence, in reverse engineering field, the connection between PCBA clone and IC crack are so close that they are like twins.
PCBA clone is a kind of reverse research technology that technicians use it to analyze one advanced electronic product in order to obtain PCB design circuit, schematic, BOM, technical files, etc. Through digest, these key information is applied to new product’s R&D.
IC crack is a kind of emerging reverse engineering. With the aid of special devices, MCU attacker can extracts main program from the chip by various technical methods in that there are some loopholes and defects in MCU design. In short, IC crack is used to study chip’s structure principle, production process and programs.
The two technologies also have some differences. PCBA clone includes IC crack and other items, like PCB design, BOM and schematic making, but chip decryption is only a study on chip. Besides, their success factors are not the same. Generally speaking, the success of PCBA copy depends on technology strength, while difficult IC crack takes more time because attacker must spend some time on finding loopholes and defects on chip design.
Chip decryption’s innovation can be reached only by program disassembling or IC reverse design, thus internal performance of electronic product is improved. Regarding PCBA copy, not only can internal function be improved by schematic modification but also can change product’s appearance through prototype production.