Bloomberg’s Article Delivers Misleading Information on Robot Insecurity

Popular Robots are Dangerously Easy to Hack, Cybersecurity Firm Says” is an article by Jeremy Kahn published on Bloomberg Technology’s website that accounts for some vulnerabilities found in robot deployed in the industrial and home sectors.

By accessing the source of the news, a blog post of a security company, it becomes immediately clear that the problem is not the robot in itself, but the way the software who runs it has been designed. In other words, nothing different than what happens in other fields or the applied information technology, where poorly conceived and wrongly built pieces of code lead to damages and service disruption.

To put it short, as always in the ICT sector the fault is on the human’s shoulder.

What I find particularly misleading in Mr. Kahn article is the part related to Nao and Pepper, two Japanese-made, home-dedicated robots “charged” of being potential hidden wiretapping machines:

With the robots intended for home use – SoftBank’s Pepper and NAO – IOActive found that cyberattackers could use them to record audio and video and secretly transmit this data to an external server.

This is nothing different than what might happens with other smartdevices so, again, being the camera and the microphone embedded in a shell different than a TV screen or a phone doesn’t make the difference.

It looks like Mr. Khan’s – and many other similar – article are rather exploiting the Frankenstein Syndrome (the “creature” that fights back its master) instead of accounting for another variation of the theme “software is poorly designed by human”.

Admittedly, a less “appealing” topic.

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