Tamper proof zip tie security hood

by driggers, published

Tamper proof zip tie security hood by driggers Oct 21, 2012
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Alice wants to send a package to Bob, and she wants Bob to verify that his stalker, Eve, has not opened the package since it left Alice's hands. Alice needs a tamper proof seal.

Alice's package can be closed with a zip tie, so I have made her a little accessory that prevents Eve from opening the zip tie (with a pin, for example), and closing it again. Even if Eve were to cut the zip tie, she would not be able to remove it from the the tamper proof hood.

Eve has one option remaining: Cut the tamper proof seal and replace it with her own forgery. But Alice prints them on her 3D printer, and adds a customized mark, wich will take Eve a long time to reproduce. In addition, Alice has etched a pattern into the zip tie itself, and photographed it. It would be nearly impossible for Eve to reproduce this exactly.

Do you think you could foil the security of this tamper proof seal? Tell us your trick in the comments!

This thing was made with Tinkercad. Edit it online https://tinkercad.com/things/fRa3fW1P8VF


You will need medium sized zip ties (zap straps): The head is 8mm wide, 8mm tall, 5.54mm deep, and the strap is 4.8mm wide.

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You could add an SD card to the hood that contains a digitally signed manifest of what's beyond the zip tie (text, photos, video). That way, the hood is the first line of defense, but assuming it's intact Bob can first validate the manifest, and then use the manifest to validate the physical package.
Although, if you wanted to beef up the hood you could water-mark the insides of the walls via cavities. (hopefully only visible against a bright light)

Hmm, there's also got to be a way to take advantage of the ability to print unique changes per hood...

Wouldn't a drop of super glue be easier?

But much less cool!

I think this thing should be renamed to "Tamper Resistant Zip tie hood".

A very thin metal shim fed along the underside of the tie will follow the curve and defeat the catch just like the pin does, and being more flexible would follow along the curve rather than digging in like the pin.

Maybe, but I have not seen a metal shim that might work.  This brings up an idea I have thought of for the next version. Add a mechanism that will cause ink to be spread around the zip tie hood if the zip tie were to be pulled out again.  I have in mind a glue barrier and a drop of viscous ink injected into the chamber holding the end of the tie.

Another idea would be a script to create a customized printable seal, which can then be stamped into a blob of wax put over the zip tie.