Preventing IP theft in 3D printing

3D printing is achieving a reasonable scale in a short space of time. As the sector grows, it becomes an increasingly attractive target for cybercriminals looking to capitalize on any vulnerabilities that exist. This Cybernews story cites a paper exploring these issues by Ramesh Karri, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and co-founder of the NYU Center for Cyber Security; Nikhil Gupta, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and member of the NYU Center for Cyber Security; Michail Maniatakos, global network associate professor and research associate professor in electrical and computer engineering; Nektarios Georgios Tsoutsos, PhD candidate at NYU Tandon for computer science; and alumni Steven Eric Zeltmann and Jeyavijayan Rajendran

These researchers focused on two particular forms of security risk found in the sector: the deliberate insertion of fine defects, and manipulating the orientation of the printer itself.

"Embedded defects in a 3D-printed specimen were found to be undetectable by ultrasonic inspection, though did not cause a decrease in the tensile strength," the researchers explain. "Similarly, alteration of the direction of printing in the material extrusion process was shown to significantly alter the strength and strain to failure of the test specimens."

Of course, it is also difficult to ensure the providence of any items produced via a 3D printer, leading to people being capable of producing whatever they want, regardless of whether they own the license to do so.