Security Alert: 3D Printing - Counterfeit High Security Bolt Seals

The following alert was received from the Pharmaceutical Cargo Security Coalition...Swiss Freight Forwarding and Logistics Company provided heightened awareness of a new high tech method of counterfeiting security seals.

3D Copy of Bolt Seals

This methodology of theft has been seen in Europe. An essentially perfect 3D copy is made of a bolt seal that had been illicitly removed. In this particular instance the identification numbers matched exactly.

Description of the Issue

In 3D printing, three-dimensional work pieces are built up in layers on relatively cheap devices. This construction is done by computer control of one or more liquid or solid materials. Typical materials are synthetic resins, plastics, ceramics and metals. This new technology opens up new possibilities in the manufacture of products. The advantages of this technology have now been discovered by organized crime.

A victim of seal counterfeiting has provided the following images to raise the awareness of other freight forwarders and shippers. In the below incident, a shipment of pharmaceutical goods loaded in a container was sealed with an intact shipper seal (Figure 1) and a seal from the shipping transport company was also applied to the container (Figure 2): 

Security Alert: 3D Printing - Counterfeit High Security Bolt Seals

Upon arrival of the container at the end customer dock, the seals were removed and the container opened. It was then found that most of the load had been stolen in transit. The original seals had been removed during transport, the goods were removed, and the container was resealed with new, but fake seals. (Figure 3) 

Security Alert: 3D Printing - Counterfeit High Security Bolt Seals

Investigation subsequently revealed very good fake seals were reproduced by 3D printers and applied to the container. Reproduced seals can be created in less than ten minutes in a 3D printer.

Awareness Factors

  • Closely inspect all cut seals for appropriate hardened inner steel core.
  • Immediately report any suspicious findings to management and Corporate Security.

Prevention Factors

  • Do not discard cut seals which provide a template for reproducing copies of seals.
  • Collect and secure all cut seals for proper disposal such as verified destruction of original seals.




For further information or if you have any questions, contact Great West Casualty Company below. 

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