In DepthIndustrial Espionage

3D printers vulnerable to spying

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Science  08 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6282, pp. 132-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6282.132

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The signals that 3D printers shed render them vulnerable to attacks, scientists have discovered, raising the potential for a new form of intellectual property theft. A simple audio recording—possibly even one made by a smartphone—can be enough to reverse-engineer a 3D-printed object, a new paper that will be presented 11 April shows. From the sounds the device emits while printing, an attacker can recreate the source code that contains the shape of the 3D-printed object. The new method does not reveal the printer's temperature or other settings that affect the material of a 3D-printed object. But attack models might someday be enhanced by targeting thermal profiles and electromagnetic radiation as well as audio emissions, the researchers say.