The concept of hacking robots is not new, as any interface that is electronic in nature can be infiltrated given the proper tools. The dangers associated with vulnerable robotics have only multiplied as they are now connected with the Internet of Things. Anything, from refrigerators to phones, that is a part of the supposedly "smart" network of IoT devices is more vulnerable than ever before to hacking of all kinds.
This includes robots of a more ... adult variety.
Findings from Dr. Nick Patterson, a cybersecurity researcher and lecturer at Australia's Deakin University, show that sex robots (stop laughing) present certain dangerous scenarios in the event of a hack. In an interview with a UK publication, Patterson stated his concerns as follows:
Hackers can hack into a robot or a robotic device and have full control of the connections, arms, legs and other attached tools like in some cases knives or welding devices. Often these robots can be upwards of 200 pounds, and very strong. Once a robot is hacked, the hacker has full control and can issue instructions to the robot. The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots! Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage.
The evidence for vulnerabilities in adult items like sex robots has already been established with previous incidents where certain sex toys with Bluetooth capabilities have been hacked remotely or have been accused of collecting too much saucy information. While the media has gone bonkers with headlines akin to that of a teenage boy discovering Playboy for the first time, cybersecurity experts still have to treat this threat report as equal as any other.
Perhaps these sex robots could become a member of an IoT botnet akin to Mirai. Or, as Dr. Patterson suggests, humans can be injured or possibly killed if the hacker has homicide on the mind. While the Daily Star's headline of an "Artificial Intelligence World War 3" brought on by hacked sex-bots is absolute bollocks, the fact remains that consumers remain at risk if glaring vulnerabilities go unpatched. It is the duty of those of us in cybersecurity to protect the consumer, no matter what the circumstances.
We should not fear AI, nor the advancement of robotics, but we cannot ignore the fact that all technology can be warped into a nefarious scheme. Until we succeed in creating self-aware AI like the Replicants in “Blade Runner” or other science fiction fantasies, AI will remain dependent on humans to think and act a certain way. As such, the possibility for hacking in the name of creating disorder must always be considered when evaluating the security of any form of tech.
Even if that tech is found on a sex robot.
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