A new type of cyber-attack described in a research paper claims a hacker could breach a company’s network, hack into a 3D printer, and alter operational details to produce defective products that could lead to a company going bankrupt. The paper is entitled “Manufacturing and Security Challenges in 3D Printing”, and is funded by the Office of Naval Research and carried out by researchers from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
The research reveals that 3D printing, or AM (additive manufacturing), is just another means by which hackers could severely impact a company’s normal business operations. The researchers claim that a hacker who breaches a 3D printer can, in theory, alter the core settings of the device, in order to modify this pattern, creating an inherent weakness, not visible to the human eye. A variation of a few degrees between these layers can have an enormous impact on the product’s final parameters.