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3d Printing Technology is at Risk According to a Research

3d Printing Technology is at Risk According to a Research

Almost everything is connecting to a network nowadays can now be hacked. A new study from the University of California, Irvine, has revealed that the source code of any 3D printer could be enough to compromise valuable intellectual property, allowing cyber hackers to reverse engineer and re-create 3D printed objects based off of nothing more than a smartphone audio recording.

This makes 3D printers vulnerable to a security breach that can only be bad for companies that use 3D printers as the hacking would constitute corporate espionage. Mohammad Al Faruque, director of UCI’s Advanced Integrated Cyber-Physical Systems Lab and also the leader of the research team, showed that any device with recording abilities and even the common smartphone could be used to capture acoustic signals when placed next to the printer.

The acoustic signals carry information about the precise movements of the printer’s nozzle. This can then be used to reverse engineer the object being printed and thus re-create it elsewhere.

Though they only achieved nearly 90 percent accuracy with their research as they attempted to duplicate a key-shaped object in the lab, Al Faruque states that:

“In many manufacturing plants, people who work on a shift basis don’t get monitored for their smartphones, for example, If process and product information is stolen during the prototyping phases, companies stand to incur large financial losses. There’s no way to protect these systems from such an attack today, but possibly there will be in the future.”

Al Faruque claims to have walked upon this research by mistake when they were trying to do work to understand the relationship between information and energy flows. Initially he also says that the focus was not on the security part of the investigation until they realised the importance in it and they decided to go after it. Now various government agencies are showing interest and also some other branches of the university.

In light of President Obama’s comments to return manufacturing back to the United States, 3D is a major player in that because of the highly intellectual objects that is going to be involved so any research towards it is welcome. Al Faruque suggested that prospective engineers willing to develop a way to stop this could maybe find a way to “jam” the acoustic signals made by the3D printer with a white noise device or similar tool.

The study which was funded by a cyber-physical systems research grant from the National Science Foundation might just help people in the future as many people continue to invest in 3D printers.

About Ali Raza

Ali Raza is a freelance journalist with extensive experience in marketing and management. He holds a master degree and actively writes about crybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, and technology in general. Raza is the co-founder of, too, a site dedicated to educating people on online privacy and spying.

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