Researchers prove hackers could make robots turn violent in shocking video

Researchers prove hackers could make robots turn violent in shocking video

Researchers say robots could be hacked (Stock image)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Security researchers believe popular robots could be hacked and turned into spy tools which could even attack their owners.

To prove it, security company IOActive has released a video of Alpha 2, a home assistant robot, being hacked via Bluetooth and the result is quite worrying.

The company has tested 12 domestic and commercial devices, according to Sky News. It found that all of the devices had vulnerabilities which would leave them open to hackers gaining control.

Although the devices tested by the company were not said to have enough strength and speed to cause injuries to adults, the researchers believe that as better robots are developed the risk of injury could increase.

Lucas Apa, senior security consultant at IOActive, says one of the major problems is authentication. He says that anyone within the same network "can interact with the robot and issue it commands to move around or even to return the video or microphone recordings that it's making to a third party."

The security firm claims this poses a particular risk to those working in businesses.

However, despite concerns over hacking, there has not yet been much evidence to show that such infiltration takes place regularly.

But Apa has warned that if the problems aren't fixed "robots will become more powerful" and "in the near future... robots could do much more harm than they could do today."

However, the general manager of UBTECH in North America, the company which made the Alpha 2 robot, has said: "The video is an exaggerated depiction of Alpha 2's open-source platform. UBTECH encourages its developer community to code responsibly and discourages inappropriate robot behavior."

John Rhee added: "The company has conducted a full investigation into the claims made in the IOActive report regarding the Alpha 2 robot. 

"The Alpha 2 robot was designed to be on an open-sourced platform where developers are encouraged to program their robots with code. UBTECH has fully addressed any concerns raised by IOActive that do not limit our developers from programming their Alpha 2.”