Unsecure Robots Connected To The Internet May Pose Danger: Study

If such a case happens that robots are left in a condition of security on the internet, it can pose a huge threat as users may get exposed thereby allowing hackers to control them remotely in many ways that could prove to be dangerous for both the robot and the human operators, a study says.

Robots can easily be controlled remotely. For example, it can be used to spy on camera feeds and even send commands to mobilize the robots around, as per a study was done at the 2018 Robotics Science and Systems conference in Pittsburgh, US.

A team of researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, carried out an exercise by scanning worldwide of hosts to search for those running the Robot Operating System (ROS) during three different periods in the year 2017 and 2018.

As per their research, at least 100 exposed systems were running on ROS and from them, up to 19 were considered to be fully operational robots.

The research said, that the findings are a reminder that everyone needs to be careful to keep a watch in an increasingly connected digital world.

“Though a few unsecured robots might not seem like a critical issue, our study has shown that a number of research robots is accessible and controllable from the public Internet,” the research team said.

“It is likely these robots can be remotely actuated in ways (that are) dangerous to both the robot and the human operators,” they added.

ROS is the top most used platform for research in robotics, which can be considered to be a robot’s central nervous system.

The program helps to aggregate all of its robot’s different and various components such as cameras, sensors and actuators and provides a connection for them to a central computing node.

“ROS is a great tool for robotics research, but the designers explicitly left security to the end users,” said Stefanie Tellex, a roboticist at Brown University and a study co-author.

“It doesn’t require any authentication to connect to a ROS master, which means if you’re running ROS and it’s not behind a firewall, anyone can connect to your robot,” Tellex added.

According to the researchers, the study they performed to highlight the fact that the security holes in ROS can easily be overlooked.

As we all know that many times serious virus attacks have taken place in hacking systems and now there is a new trend to hack down robots. Everyone must be careful to keep their systems safe.

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