3D printing, both in industry and for hobbyists, is more popular than ever, with what was once considered a niche pastime now becoming mainstream. With the number of new people of all ages taking an interest, some will no doubt be going into it without much in the way of knowledge, either about the equipment they are using or how to find the designs for the items they want to print.

Of course, the online communities for 3D printing enthusiasts are welcoming. They will help newbies with all the questions they need to ask, but even so, there are some things that fledgling enthusiasts should bear in mind before they get started, especially regarding staying safe from cyberattacks.

Only get your designs from reliable sources.

As you are just starting, you might not know where to go to download the designs you are after. It doesn’t matter if you want to print parts for your projects or the latest printables from the Mandalorian; chances are you will find it online. What you will need to do, however, is to ensure that the source you use is reputable.

After some Googling, you might be able to find sites with free designs that you might have to pay for elsewhere, but this might be for a reason. Therefore, ensure you do your due diligence. Although they are probably not deliberately sharing infected files, they might not have the right Cloud Security measures in place, and using any of the resources you find could cause you problems. Bear this in mind if, in time, you want to release your designs. You must have the proper security in place.

Protect your IP

Of course, it’s not just people downloading designs that need to be wary of the online threats posed by malicious individuals. If you are one of the people who create designs yourself, you are also at risk. You might spend hours, days, or weeks perfecting a design or range of designs, and even though you might end up sharing those designs for free once finished, you certainly won’t want them stolen in a cyber attack.

A successful attack could see your designs taken and sold on platforms like Etsy, passed off as the seller’s design, and all the profits or kudos coming your way has now been hijacked by someone else. So again, you need to ensure that you have the right measures against attacks, especially if your 3D printing hobby also fuels a thriving side hustle.

A few final thoughts

It is common sense to have anti-virus protection today, but if you use online resources from multiple sources, you must be extra careful. Sticking to reliable sites and sellers when finding your designs is advisable, especially when you start and might not know what to expect. Also, protecting yourself from having any designs stolen can be important, as in some cases, your livelihood might depend on it.