May 19, 2016 | By Benedict

G4S, a British multinational security services company, has warned that an increasing number of criminals are using 3D printed security devices in order to disguise cargo thefts. G4S advises that companies improve their supply chain security to protect themselves from this new threat.

For some time now, 3D printing has been under scrutiny for the ways in which it can be used to compromise security. The debate over the morality and legality of 3D printed guns remains heated, while there are other, more devious uses of 3D printing which are causing concern for some of the most reputable security firms on the planet. There was a great public outcry in September 2015 when it was revealed that 3D printed TSA Master Luggage Keys had been created using leaked photos of an original key, and London-based security firm G4S has now warned of a new, 3D printed security threat that is primarily affecting cargo shipments.

According to G4S, incidents have been reported of cargo thieves using 3D printed cargo seals and padlocks to obscure the signs of tampering caused during thefts. By creating perfect replicas of certain well-known cable seals such as the ISO 17712, these thieves are able to quickly replace a broken seal with a 3D printed replacement, giving security personnel no reason to identify the cargo as having been tampered with. When the theft is eventually discovered, there is little evidence to suggest when and where it took place.

Images: TydenBrooks

“For a few hundred dollars, a person can purchase a 3D scanner that eliminates the need to understand computer-aided design and can not only provide the dimensions for any item but also creates the CAD technical specifications needed to produce a near-perfect replica,” a G4S spokesperson said. “It is important that companies recognize that this new threat means they need to improve their supply chain security and lower their vulnerability to this emerging threat.”

One way in which businesses can look to combat this 3D printed security risk is to install motion-activated cameras on vehicles, or to place GPS devices in cargo so that their location can be traced if stolen. Another option would be to assign random colors to ISO 17712 seals, so that their replacement with unmatched 3D printed replicas could be immediately spotted. This solution, however, could possibly be countered by thieves printing replicas in a range of colors. G4S also recommends that employees be better trained to identify and remove counterfeit security seals.

Last year, logistics organization SpedLogSwiss reported that fake 3D printed seals had been used to facilitate the theft of a pharmaceutical shipment, and that the 3D printing process could have been completed in as little as 10 minutes.

While 3D printed replica seals essentially trick security staff into believing that a security device is still present, 3D scanning, CAD software, and 3D printing have also been used to create functional replica keys which can breach doors and luggage locks. Although this technique has not yet been widely used by thieves, computer science engineering student Eric Wustrow recently explained how several types of 3D printed keys could be used to compromise security, with many hackers actually creating their printed copies using publicly available key patents.

It is not yet clear whether businesses will heed the advice given by G4S regarding the threat of 3D printed devices, but another widely reported incident following last year's pharmaceutical theft could potentially force their hands.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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The truth will out wrote at 5/20/2016 5:16:42 AM:

Having master keys is just asking for someone to duplicate them, its as bad as having back doors in encryption!

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