3D Printing Challenges Cybersecurity

Intellectual property at risk with rise of 3D Printing  
Engineers have been using 3D printing technology for over 30 years now. So the technology itself isn’t really new, but it certainly is on a consumer level. In the past few years, accessing a 3D printer has become a lot easier for those of us not living in the industrial world. With the right materials, we can print out literally anything with just a digital blueprint and a 3D designing software on a working desktop.
Corporates too have begun adopting 3D printing technology as it is seeps into every large industry. Serving as an easier and cheaper alternative to traditional manufacturing, companies are printing out commodities from little pills to flashy cars.[1] Any product or part of a product can easily be printed with an available 3D blueprint. Herein, lies the risk.
Any idea turned into a product is owned by its creator or designer. All these products are then copyrighted and patented for ownership and the commoditized idea is now and forevermore titled as Intellectual Property. Unbeknownst by the designers, who simply wish to share their ideas and celebrate the technology, their Intellectual Property Rights are at risk of being exploited if not digitally protected.
The Threat
While products can be printed in reverse through 3D scans, most prints still need a 3D design file to print out a perfect replica. These files are being leaked illegally over the internet through hacks, unlicensed distribution or via unsecure programs.
Digital property is complicated; design files are stored in devices and passed around to multiple users during the entire production process - from the research and testing phase to product exhibitions and sales pitches - until finally it is handed off to the 3D printing company. Take note, it is vital that every device containing these sacred files needs the utmost security and if you fail to provide one, you can just kiss your intellectual property rights goodbye.
While it is completely impractical to lock up your 3D files in an actual safe, it is totally possible to build a digital fortress to protect your most prized possession. With the right cybersecurity solutions, designers can safeguard their 3D designs. For example, by installing an Access Control software, you will ensure that only trusted users get access to the files on the device.   
The Shield
Installing a neat Information Security software lets the owner enjoy complete freedom with the knowledge that all their files are securely kept and they can have access to their untainted information whenever they wish to access it. However, this monitored access and data integrity is still only a solution to avoid leaks during the whole 3D printing process. The other threat is hacking but there are plenty of solution to combat that too.
When fortifying the doorway to your secrets doesn’t seem enough, then take it a step further and secure the information itself. With Data Encryption, you can hide your information within itself in the form of complicated computer codes, which needs its own complicated decryption key to decode and be of use.
And there is of course the ever present threat with anything digital, the most fearsome foe – Virus. Place a capable Antivirus software within all your digital devices to keep your clean pool of data from being corrupted by any kind of virus. Throw in a massive, devoted Firewall too while you’re at it, nothing scares of a threat like a colossal wall of fire – literally or digitally. 
The Challenge
The Cyber Realm is a vast space that keeps evolving, there are new threats every day and new codes that counter the old. Hackers like to challenge themselves and upgrade their systems whenever they can to meet the growing competition. It is very important to always keep evolving and fortifying your cyber security system to meet the ever shifting forces in the field and guarantee the security of all your Intellectual Property Rights.



  1. ^ 16 Coolest 3D Printed Cars In The World (Right Now). (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2018

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