The usage of 3D printing in the modern world is increasing drastically. It is being used to create complex components, new products, etc. The capabilities that 3D printing offers make it a vital value separator today. 

With this new technology are many associated risks. Manufacturers must hire dedicated talent and resources for 3D printing to safeguard intellectual property, protect users and themselves from any vandalism. 

An Outline of 3D Printer Security Vulnerabilities 

3D printers function similarly to traditional imaging devices like copiers. They receive incoming connections, maintain CAD files on a local hard drive, and provide the appropriate results. 

Since it is automatically obtained by receiving connections, it is prone to cybersecurity threats. If any cybercriminal can get into the network’s initial defenses, they can access the machine and control it. 

Typically, in a small-scale business setting, the network’s defense generally consists of a commercial-grade firewall. But, cybercriminals can often bypass these systems using multi-stage infiltration techniques. In this, they slip in the individual bits of code past the firewall and re-assemble themselves later. 

Such devices that hold encrypted files threaten the user’s safety and intellectual property. The hacker can insert an invisible design change into a product, which manufacturers can sell in the market without knowing any changes. 

Yet another attack that a 3D printer goes through is connected to the result orientation. In this, the hacker would change the output orientation of the final product. It is done to make the product weaker so that the technicians do not notice it. It results in product recalls, malfunctions, and lawsuits. 

Ways to Protect Your 3D Printer From Hackers 

By following a few key steps, industrial firms can protect themselves and their 3D printing tools. Here are a few of these steps:

Consider State-of-the-art Inspection Techniques: Manufacturing researchers are continuously working to develop innovative ways to safeguard 3D printers from sabotage and theft. One such method to identify defects is using microscopic gold nanoparticles to find if the printed item coordinates with the CAD file. It can send alerts to users in case of sabotage attempts or security breaches. 

Encrypt Your CAD Files: In the multi-layered industrial cybersecurity framework, encryption is one of the most vital tools. It makes sure that even if a cybercriminal gets access to the file, they will not be able to modify, analyze or even interpret them. It safeguards manufacturers from intentional damage while simultaneously defending intellectual property. 

There are various encryption devices available for 3D-printing manufacturers. Some of these are mainly designed for additive manufacturing. Such tools have been made while considering the usage of 3D-printer, making them an easy addition to any industrial network. 

Secure Your Network: Unsecured networks are definitely the favorite target of cybercriminals. You should safely send CAD files to your print equipment to keep your device secure. You will need a secured network to protect the file during transfer to achieve this. 

The firewall technology featured in these secure networks automatically identifies any potential threat. This multi-layered security system not only helps mitigate the essential risks of cybercrime but also keeps productivity and efficiency on edge. 

Use a VPN: The connection between your printer and the computer must be strong. Else, the cybercriminal will search for ways to access the network and even disable it. A VPN enhances the network security of the printer. It restricts any stranger or hacker from logging into the system and making any amendments. 


As rapid prototyping and production become the new normal, companies have started using 3D printing widely. With this change, it is necessary that companies are aware of and prepared for safeguarding this new technology. Like any other technology, considering cybersecurity for 3D printing is equally important.

Users must act as a guarantor of the quality and integrity of files and data. They must ensure proper certification and monitoring, including physical object verification. The power and originality of 3D printing lie in both the physical and the digital world. Hence, providing both opportunities and threats.