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Why Does 3D Printing Need Blockchain?

2019-02-27 09:58 Wednesday

If 3D printing technology wants to go beyond its inherent security problems, the best way is to adopt blockchain.

3D Printing and Blockchain

As 3D printing becomes cheaper, easier, faster and more common, the nature of the technology will require the security provided by blockchain, according to industry experts.

3D printing has gone through several stages: from concept to CAD files, to generating designs, to actual 3D printing. Then comes the post-print process, and finally, support as needed. All of these steps represent a weak spot where 3D printing can be compromised or even stolen, putting a company's intellectual property at risk.

"There are weaknesses in the digital mainline of manufacturing. Design files could be stolen, "the expert said. "What scares me the most is that a design file could be planted with a flaw by a hacker. This is a potential danger."

Research has shown that 3D printing has a growing demand for network security. For example, researchers at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering have identified serious safety issues with 3D printing. Counterfeit parts and products, or products that are deliberately printed with hidden defects and built-in faults, can cause significant safety concerns.

In 2016, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, demonstrated a new way to hack into 3D printers. They revealed that by recording the sounds made by printers, they could steal the source code for making 3D printed parts.

In addition to printers being taken offline by malicious entities and concerns about IP theft, there are larger issues, particularly gun safety.

How does blockchain handle this?

Blockchain works by creating a distributed, encrypted ledger between any number of participants that can be used to verify not only identity but also the state of any particular job. This means that every entity involved in any phase of 3D printing knows what other entities are doing in a secure way at all times.

Because blockchain is decentralized, this means that no one entity owns it, which means that stealing or modifying a 3D-printed file isn't about tricking a computer or printer, but the entire blockchain - you have to hack every single entity on the blockchain. This will undoubtedly multiply the difficulties of destroying 3D printed files.

Although in view of the 3D printer network attack mainly limited to research laboratories, but as more and more printer through Internet connection, and more and more companies trust 3D printers have sensitive documents and information, 3D printers will be the target of the hacker more attractive, and block chain technology application is urgent.

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