The cybersecurity of connected objects is a recurring subject and robots are not immune to this problem. An American cybersecurity specialist points the finger at multiple types of robots, both in the industrial environment and in personal robots. A dozen robots have not passed the security tests, with security flaws that potentially allow hackers to turn these robots into spies or, at worst, alter their behavior.
Personal robots and collaborative robots tested insecure
The scenario of a Nao little robot transformed into a spy and that transmits everything he sees or hears to a hacker or that of a robot industrial Universal Robot that tries to strike a worker is not illusory. Cyber security researchers from IOActive conducted a few tests on a dozen different robots and, not surprisingly, They were found to be insufficiently secured. Analysts have identified 25 security vulnerabilities on robots ranging from Nao and Pepper robots by Softbank Robotics to UBTech’s personal Alpha robots.
Earlier in the year, these researchers were interested in collaborative robots for the industry. The Baxter and Sawyer cobots of the American Rethink Robotics then presented major security flaws, flaws that have since been corrected, as well as the very popular UR robots from Universal Robots. The Danish manufacturer was far less reactive than its competitors and these security flaws have obviously still not been corrected. If Lucas Apa, one of the researchers who conducted this study, evokes the scenario of a Nao attacking his owner armed with a screwdriver, a scenario that is more likely to smile, an industrial robot brought to work near the workers is Much more annoying. The researcher estimates that a Universal Robot UR5, a cobot capable of weighing 5 kg, can potentially injure an operator within range if reprogrammed by a hacker. The researcher points out that such piracy could be carried out remotely. It is high time for robot manufacturers to integrate cybersecurity as quickly as possible into the design of their machines.
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“Popular Robots are Dangerously Easy to Hack, Cybersecurity Firm Says”, Bloomberg, August 22, 2017
“Robot makers slow to address danger risk: researchers”, Reuters, August 22, 2017
“Exploiting Industrial Collaborative Robots”, IOActive release, August 22, 2017