Researchers find gold nanoparticles to help detect tampering of 3D printed products by hackers.
With major cyber attacks taking place in the recent history, the world now knows that nothing in this world is safe. Whether it’s a smartphone, computer, smart TV, or even a Nuclear power plant, if it’s connected to the Internet, someone sitting hundreds of millions of miles away in some remote location can get access to them and put your life on a toss. 3D printers have been the latest object of obsession for the hacker community and the world has a potential to be adversely affected by hacked 3D printed products.
Last year, Researchers were able to hack into a 3D printer that was printing propellers for a drone. They accessed the blueprint of the propeller that the printer was using and embedded a minor flaw undetectable to the human eye. The result was that the drone took flight with those flawed propellers and crashed within minutes of its flight. Luckily, this was an unmanned drone that caused no harm to anyone. Airbus builds some of the vital components for its aircraft models and if this were to happen on a passenger commercial flight, the results could have been tragic.
Thankfully, if something can be hacked, then it can also be un-hacked. Researchers from the USENIX Security Symposium in Vancouver have uncovered three ways to secure 3D printers from the wrath of hackers. The first method involves recording the audio of a 3D printer working on an assignment and then comparing it with all other assignments for that particular product. If there’s a mismatch between the audio recordings, then defective products could be prevented from reaching out to the consumers.
The second method is almost similar to the first — only the physical movements of the printer are compared with every assignment. The third method is where they use gold nanoparticles to detect the irregularities. These gold nanoparticles will be embedded in the filament used to make the products. After the product is manufactured and delivered to the customer, it needs to be scanned to ensure that the nanoparticles are in the places they are supposed to be. If there’s a slight irregularity, then the printer that printed it has been hacked or tampered with.
With these methods, it will be easier to ensure that products are delivered to the consumers without containing any irregularities embedded by some hacker guy in a hoodie. 3D printing is gathering higher adoption in the manufacturing industry and manufacturers need to be sure that their printers are safe from hackers with malicious intentions of watching the world burn.
With inputs from Motherboard