In recent years, 3D printing technology has become all the rage in the tech sector, inspiring both experts and ordinary people to produce a seemingly limitless slew of innovative creations, from satellite parts and buildings to prosthetics and even food.
As the emerging technology continues to advance and increase in popularity NYU researchers have now found that it does pose some potential cybersecurity risks, specifically during the manufacturing process.
Examining the possible cybersecurity risks and implications of 3D printing technology in a paper titled "Manufacturing and Security Challenges in 3D Printing", a team of materials and cybersecurity engineers at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering discovered two areas of 3D printing that could be compromised by a malicious party - printing orientation and insertion of fine defects.
"These are possible foci for attacks that could have a devastating impact on users of the end product, and economic impact in the form of recalls and lawsuits," Nikhil Gupta, materials researcher and an associate professor of mechanical engineering at NYU, said in a press release.
When a product is built using a 3D printer, a computer assisted design CAD file is first sent by the designer.
However, the inputted CAD file does not communicate any specific instructions to the printer head regarding orientation, giving a criminal a loophole to alter the process without you knowing.