How to Mitigate Robotic Cyber Security Threats
How do we confront malware and hacking attempts aimed at robots used in military, manufacturing, surgery, and transportation settings?
As robot development accelerates, they have taken on a larger role in our everyday lives: robot drones are used to carry out military commands around the world; robots have been used in manufacturing since the early 1960s; and robots are even relied upon during lengthy and complicated surgeries. Yet one of the most common ways that we interact with robots on a day-to-day basis is through our smartphones. Internet bots can now help people shop online, purchase plane tickets, order food, and even carry out malicious attacks. Protect your personal information from malicious bots online by activating Anti-Hacking:
What Malware Threats Do Robots Face?
Robots are embedded systems, meaning they are a computing system constructed within a larger system. As an embedded system, these machines are vulnerable to a number of different attacks including hardware attacks, firmware or OS attacks, and application attacks. In addition, many robots rely on insecure methods of communication and lack acceptable cryptographic standards. While there has yet to be a major cyber attack against robots, researchers have successfully hacked a teleoperated surgical robot, pointing to a real possibility of robotic cyber attacks in the future.
Potential Impact of Robotic Cyber Security Attacks
Many robots operate in close proximity to people and as such, a cyber attack poses a danger to the humans directly interacting with these machines. A hijacked military drone could be rerouted to target civilian populations while an automated vehicle could be manipulated to override collision avoidance software.
In recent years, the number of manufacturing jobs held by robots has increased, hovering around 10 percent. Should a cyber attack dismantle robots in manufacturing settings, such an attack would drastically alter or potentially halt production at assembly plants.
Mitigating Robotic Cyber Security Threats
To mitigate the possibility of cyber attacks, robotic manufacturing employees should strictly limit access to sensitive material regarding robot hardware. Robot manufacturers should also consider implementing a common, standardized operating system and create a council to oversee security issues and updates to the operating system. Most importantly, robot manufacturers should turn their attention to creating a secure application code and placing emphasis on cybersecurity considerations throughout the design and development stages. While these changes likely won’t happen overnight, researchers and security experts agree that robot cybersecurity should be a priority moving forward.