by Staff Writers
Buffalo NY (SPX) Sep 13, 2016
The ubiquity of smartphones and their sophisticated gadgetry make them an ideal tool to steal sensitive data from 3-D printers. That's according to a new University at Buffalo study that explores security vulnerabilities of 3-D printing, also called additive manufacturing, which analysts say will become a multibillion-dollar industry employed to build everything from rocket engines to heart valves.
"Many companies are betting on 3-D printing to revolutionize their businesses, but there are still security unknowns associated with these machines that leave intellectual property vulnerable," said Wenyao Xu, PhD, assistant professor in UB's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and the study's lead author.
Xu and collaborators will present the research, "My Smartphone Knows What You Print: Exploring Smartphone-based Side-channel Attacks Against 3D Printers," at the Association for Computing Machinery's 23rd annual Conference on Computer and Communications Security in October in Austria.
Not a cyberattack
Instead, the researchers programmed a common smartphone's built-in sensors to measure electromagnetic energy and acoustic waves that emanate from 3-D printers. These sensors can infer the location of the print nozzle as it moves to create the three-dimensional object being printed.
The smartphone, at 20 centimeters away from the printer, gathered enough data to enable the researchers to replicate printing a simple object, such as a door stop, with a 94 percent accuracy rate. For complex objects, such as an automotive part or medical device, the accuracy rate was lower but still above 90 percent.
"The tests show that smartphones are quite capable of retrieving enough data to put sensitive information at risk," says Kui Ren, PhD, professor in UB's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, a co-author of the study.
The richest source of information came from electromagnetic waves, which accounted for about 80 percent of the useful data. The remaining data came from acoustic waves.
Ultimately, the results are eye-opening because they show how anyone with a smartphone - from a disgruntled employee to an industrial spy - might steal intellectual property from an unsuspecting business, especially "mission critical" industries where one breakdown of a system can have a serious impact on the entire organization.
"Smartphones are so common that industries may let their guard down, thus creating a situation where intellectual property is ripe for theft," says Chi Zhou, PhD, assistant professor in UB's Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, another study co-author.
Making 3-D printers more secure
Another option is to increase the print speed. The researchers said that emerging materials may allow 3-D printers to work faster, thus making it more difficult for smartphone sensors to determine the print nozzle's movement.
Other ideas include software-based solutions, such as programming the printer to operate at different speeds, and hardware-based ideas, such as acoustic and electromagnetic shields.
Additional authors are Feng Lin, PhD, research scientist, and Chen Song and Zhongjie Ba, PhD students, all in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at UB's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
University at Buffalo
Space Technology News - Applications and Research
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|