Humanoid robots which “will soon be around us” could be weaponised by hackers, experts have warned, even non-military robots could be weaponised.
Cesar Cerrudo and Lucas Apa from the cyber security firm IOActive said current and future robots have vulnerabilities which would allow hackers to spy and launch attacks on users.
The pair have identified nearly 50 vulnerabilities in home, business and industrial robots which could be exploited and potentially weaponised.
Mr Apa said: ”Our research shows proof that even non-military robots could be weaponised to cause harm.
“These robots don’t use bullets or explosives, but microphones, cameras, arms, and legs.
“The difference is that they will be soon around us and we need to secure them now before it’s too late.”
Mr. Apa warned that danger lurks in the home as he revealed how a 17inch (43.18cm) Alpha 2 “humanoid” robot from Ubtech – advertised as “your new family member” – could be programmed to violently jab a screwdriver.
He added: ”Maybe it’s small and it’s not really going to hurt right now, but the trend is that the robots are going to be more powerful.
“We tested industrial ones which are really heavy and powerful, and some of the attacks work with them.”
Mr. Apa and his colleague in a January report claimed that half a dozen robot manufacturers’ products had similar vulnerabilities, but only a few of these problems had now been addressed by companies.
The news comes as a letter signed by more than 100 leading robotic experts urged the United Nations to ban the development of killer military robots and autonomous weapons.
Nathan Wenzler, chief security strategist at AsTech, said: “The potential impact to companies, and even countries, could be massive.
“Should an attacker exploit the vulnerability within the applications that control these robots.”
A spokesman for Rethink Robotics, which makes the Baxter and Sawyer assembly-line robots, said all but two issues – in the education and research versions of its robots had been fixed.