Ransomware for robots is the next big security nightmare

Ransomware has long been a headache for PC and smartphone users, but in the future, it could be robots that stop working unless a ransom is paid.

Researchers at security company IOActive have shown how they managed to hack the humanoid NAO robot made by Softbank and infect one with custom-built ransomware. The researchers said the same attack would work on the Pepper robot too. After the infection, the robot is shown insulting its audience and demanding to be ‘fed’ bitcoin cryptocurrency in order to restore systems back to normal.

While a tiny robot making threats might initially seem amusing — if a little creepy — the proof-of-concept attack demonstrates the risks associated with a lack of security in robots and how organisations that employ robots could suddenly see parts of their business grind to a halt should they become a victim of ransomware.

Read more about how researchers were able to infect robots with ransomware and why such attacks could be highly damaging to businesses in the real world if robotic security isn’t addressed, on ZDNet.

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