If I ask you to imagine in your head, by throwing just five words at you, the first three of which are,” three-dimensional printing,” and the other two beings,” additive manufacturing!” Would your imagination have a computer-controlled device that fuses many materials to form a 3D object from 3D modeling? And would you, if you can imagine so, ponder upon the cybersecurity risks that revolve around these terms?
3D printing is claimed as,” the most revolutionizing technology,” happened to the manufacturing industry for years. It allows companies to create a rapid prototype at cheaper costs and tests a person’s engineering skills. The device that does the complete process of 3D printing, is called a 3D printer. There are various methods based upon which the mechanism of the 3D printer is developed. One of the most popular methods is called Fused Deposition Melting (FDM). The other one that is said to manufacture parts with more dimensional accuracy than FDM is named Stereolithography (SLA). The method that uses a laser to melt powder material is named Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
You can find a huge amount of articles on the Internet that talk about the benefits of 3D printing and the qualities of the 3D printers that are based on one of the many methods of 3D printing. Each one of these 3D printers is, arguably subjected to the risk of cyber-attacks. Bearing the fact that, every one of that 3D printer is computer-controlled. So, in this article, we want to give exposure to the very less or not at all covered aspects related to 3D printing in four parts.
Hackability is Inherent Characteristic of Every Software
If you are wondering what is the role of software in 3D printing, your wondering is similar to that of,” what is the role of the machine in manufacturing?” The 3D printers which are responsible for printing a part of a prototype that is functional get their orders to work from the file that is sliced using the software.
Irrespective of the 3D printer that you have in place, that 3D printer is controlled via software and hence, via computer. There are proprietary or open-sourced software ran on computers that control your printer. Even the simplest printers are controlled by something that is called the RepRap project. A month before the current one, Marlin, the firmware used by RepRap was reported of significant buffer overflow.
This subjects the 3D printing file to all sorts of malign coding. In short, it gives access to others to change the shape of the object that you wish to print using this technology.
Can Networking Ever Be Flawless?
Almost every 3D printer offers remote management of that machine, by connecting with small, cheap, and un-assuring network hosts. Search the features of all the latest manufactured 3D printers and you’d get to know how they can be remotely operated. By bringing in this technology, they are also bringing in the risk of flaws that are present in networking since ever.
Another printing project like RepRap, Octoprint, recently found a very important flaw in their management software. Using this flaw, an unauthorized user could gain access to Octoprint. Imagine the file that you have designed after giving a considerable amount of effort is available to anyone of your competitor!
3D Printing is completely a result of 3D Computer Designing
Notice the proportionality that’s mentioned in the title. Whenever there is such a certain amount of proportionality, the rudiment needs to be protected in a very clandestine manner. As mentioned above, the software can be of two types; it could be open-sourced, it could be proprietary. The G-codes which are responsible for making the 3D printer move in a certain way can be changed. Meaning that the complete output that you desire from a file that you have in your device can be changed. In turn, the part that you intend to manufacture can be changed.
A very popular research group released a video highlighting this vulnerability by the title” the dr0wned attack.” This video, like no other shows from start to end, how attackers can infect the 3D models.
Carders Benefit by 3D Printing
For all those who do not what, what is meant by carders, they are people who focus on credit or debit card fraud. Here we wish to speak about those carders, which gain access to complete information of cardholders, by inserting a device with the ATM. Now before you start questioning, what has 3D printers got to do with this? There have been reported instances of 3D printers purchased by carders since 2013 and there has been growth to it, since.
Having access to this technology, carders can manufacture a part that looks completely like a part of that ATM. The information on the magnetic strip on credit cards and ATM cards can be gained if they come in contact with this part. 3D printing would give rise in such crimes and more importantly, give freedom for all the malicious ideas to progress.
This article just brings to you the threats that 3D printing possesses currently. The technology is still growing and aims to coordinate with the Internet Of Things. After this happens, the 3D printer would function as any other IoT device and would be subjected to the same risks that any other IoT device currently is subjected to.
The importance of thinking about this topic also should be laid upon because 3D printers are utilized in the field of manufacturing. All our devices, all our products that we currently have are the gift of manufacturing and if there is even a slight chance of them being damaged or not being like they currently are, shouldn’t that threat be overcome? Shouldn’t a way be figured out which leads us to manufacture as we have today? Fearless of any thefts! And risks, as minimum as possible!