Hacking Robots Before Skynet

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Robots are going mainstream. In the very near future robots will be everywhere, on military missions, performing surgery, building skyscrapers, assisting customers at stores, as healthcare attendants, as business assistants, as sex partners, cooking in homes, and interacting with our families. While robot ecosystems grow and become more of a disrupting force in our society and economy, they pose more of a significant threat to people, animals, and organizations if the technology is not secure. When vulnerabilities are exploited in robots, physical features can be utilized by attackers to damage property, company finances, or cause unexpected consequences where human life can be endangered. Robots are essentially computers with arms, legs and wheels, so the potential threats to their physical surroundings increase exponentially and in ways not widely considered before in computer security. In recent research, we discovered multiple critical vulnerabilities in home, business and industrial collaborative robots from well-known vendors. With responsible disclosure now completed, it’s time to reveal all the technical details, threats, and how attackers can compromise different robot ecosystem components with practical exploits. Demos will showcase different exploitation scenarios that involve cyber espionage, harmful insider threats, property damage, and more. Through realistic scenarios we will unveil how insecure modern robot technology can be and why hacked robots could be more dangerous than other insecure technologies. The goal is to make robots more secure and prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited by attackers to cause serious harm to businesses, consumers, and their surroundings.

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