The threats posed by 3D impressions

Additive manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D impression, is a kind of emerging technology with a security-related implication both locally and internationally.

According to RAND Corporations this type of invention would involve a threat in the near future in security issues, as in, for example, the proliferation of weapons and economic insecurity. These are some examples of how these impressions can threaten our security:

  • Hackers can infiltrate the databases of large intelligence networks to steal weapon blueprints with all the associated implications. They can also interfere with real blueprints to cause defects to the product. As a result, there would be cybernetic sabotage with consequences affecting the physical world. To combat this, a computerised algorithm is being developed to detect any deviation during the impression process of the end product.
  • This could result in new criminals and new threats. In the United States a new weapon has already been created, the so-called Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordenanceo RAMBO, which fires grenades already made with a 3D impression. Analysts fear that terrorist groups could get hold of these types of technology and apply them to drones and explosives. With such resources, organisation and enough time attackers can get a 3D impresser, put it in a safe place and begin to manufacture all kinds of weapons. Moreover, it will be much more difficult to track down terrorist groups. However, according to RAND investigators, the weapons are not the only threat, as there is also the production and distribution of drugs, perceived as personalised chemical impressions.
  • There may be new game rules in international relations. This would be the case of economic sanctions and embargos, which would be less effective, meaning that, if a state can print whatever it wants, the objective of the sanction is somewhat useless.“ 3D impressions could indirectly support the existence of states like North Korea, which would not suffer sanctions imposed by the international community”- RAND investigators.

In any case, 3D impressions not only pose a threat, as their creation also has positive effects. For example, 3D impressions can cover real needs in ways unknown to us until now. There is the case of an earthquake in a town in Nepal, where the natural disaster destroyed a pipeline supplying the town with water. A 3D impression made it possible to reconstruct it and the extent of the disaster was reduced.

Sources of interest:

https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE283.html

https://www.rand.org/blog/articles/2018/05/four-ways-3d-printing-may-threaten-security.html

https://www.vox.com/2018/7/31/17634558/3d-printed-guns-trump-cody-wilson-defcad

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