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Robots' Weaknesses Are Prone To Security Vulnerabilities

By Victor Thomson , Mar 03, 2017 03:20 AM EST
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Researchers find basic security weaknesses in components of robot software from several vendors. Their conclusion is that security vulnerabilities are a threat to robots are much as to IoT devices.

Robots At Risk From Security Vulnerabilities

Computerworld reported that an analysis of robots used in industrial installations, businesses and homes has revealed many of the same basic weaknesses common in IoT devices. The findings are raising serious questions about security implications for human safety.

In recent years, the robotics industry has already seen significant growth and it is expected that this trend will only further accelerate. Robots will serve many roles, from manufacturing in factories, to assisting people in stores, homes and medical facilities and even handling security and law enforcement tasks.

However, according to tech experts, robots are just computers with arms, legs or wheels. They become kinetic IoT devices that can pose new serious threats if hacked. Researchers from cybersecurity consultancy firm IOActive published the conclusions of their study in a new report.

According to them, threat scenarios expand and new attack vectors emerge, as human-robot interactions evolve and improve. Human trust, peripheral devices and mechanical extremities expand the area where cybersecurity issues could be exploited to destroy property, cause harm or even kill.

Reasons For Robots' Security Vulnerabilities

According to SC Media, researchers from cybersecurity consultancy firm IOActive tested firmware images, robot operating systems, mobile applications and other software from vendors, including Asratec Corp, ROBOTIS, Rethink Robotics, SoftBank Robotics, UBTECH Robotics and Universal Robots. Many of the high level non-technical vulnerabilities discovered stemmed from missing authorization, insecure communications, privacy issues, weak default configurations, weak cryptography and vulnerable open source robot frameworks and libraries.

According to IOActive Senior Security Consultant Lucas Apa, most common vulnerabilities involved insecure communications, weak cryptography, authentication issues and privacy issues. Because there are many components and multiple ways that robots can interact with other technology around, robot ecosystems represent a huge attack surface for attackers.

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