Cargo thieves increasingly using 3D printing, says G4S

3D printed TSA master keySecurity company G4S says criminals are using 3D-printed security devices to disguise cargo thefts.

The technology allows thieves to make counterfeit copies of devices such as ISO 17712 high security cargo seals and locks/padlocks in as little as 10 minutes, allowing them to hide signs of tampering and make it difficult to identify the location or time of the theft.

"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," notes G4S.

Recent examples of the activity include the theft last year of a pharma shipment from a Swiss freight forwarding and logistics company container, and the posting of CAD master files online allowing anyone with a 3D printer to create keys and open any Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks.

"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," says G4S.

Among the measures shippers can take to protect shipments from this form of crime is to place and monitor GPS devices in cargo, install motion-activated cameras within vehicles and alternate the colours of ISO 17712 seals, issuing them in random order.

Employees should also be trained on procedures for controlling, affixing, removal, and recognition of true and counterfeit high security seals.

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