Smartphone Sensors Can Steal Data from 3D Printers

September 12, 2016

A team of researchers from the University at Buffalo, New York, has put together an attack on 3D printers that uses only a commodity smartphone.

Attackers only need to tweak their smartphone’s software and place the device up to 30 centimeters away from a 3D printer.

The phone’s sensors will collect electromagnetic and sound wave information coming from the 3D printer and its printing nozzle.

Attackers can reproduce 3D printed objects with +90% accuracy

After collecting the data on their phone, an attacker can later download it and reconstruct it into a 3D model.

Researchers say that during tests they managed to steal data from a 3D printer with 94 percent accuracy for simple objects, such as a door stop.

For more complex items like car parts or medical devices, the accuracy was lower, but above 90 percent, nonetheless.

Researchers also mention that the biggest portion of the data came from the electromagnetic waves recorded off the 3D printer’s nozzle. These accounted for 80 percent of all the collected data.

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