dr0wned - Cyber-Physical Attack with Additive Manufacturing Academic Article uri icon


  • Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, is an emerging manufacturing technology that is expected to have far-reaching socioeconomic, environmental, and geopolitical implications. As use of this technology increases, it will become more common to produce functional parts, including components for safety-critical systems. AM's dependence on computerization raises the concern that the manufactured part's quality can be compromised by sabotage. This paper demonstrates the validity of this concern, as we present the very first full chain of attack involving AM, beginning with a cyber attack aimed at compromising a benign AM component, continuing with malicious modification of a manufactured object's blueprint, leading to the sabotage of the manufactured functional part, and resulting in the physical destruction of a cyber-physical system that employs this part. The contributions of this paper are as follows. We propose a systematic approach to identify opportunities for an attack involving AM that enables an adversary to achieve his/her goals. Then we propose a methodology to assess the level of difficulty of an attack, thus enabling differentiation between possible attack chains. Finally, to demonstrate the experimental proof for the entire attack chain, we sabotage the 3D printed propeller of a quadcopter UAV, causing the quadcopter to literally fall from the sky.

publication date

  • September 1, 2016