As insane as it may sound, research has shown that robots serving customers in various stores around the world can act in a “criminal” way. In case, Pepper robots can be hacked to display pornography on your tablet while talking to a customer. Worse? To conclude the session of nothing puritanical images and audios that echo through the store, the robot still requires an amount of Bitcoin.
IOActive’s research team, led by Lucas Apa and Cesar Cerrudo, developed ransomware that could compromise SoftBank Robotics’ NAO robots, according to Motherboard.
According to research, the main ones affected by this type of ransomware are the stores that use robots for customer service. But even so, the researchers believe that a small portion of customers may be scared to the point of paying the robot some money to end the shame session.
The consequences of this would be more like preventing the robots from continuing to work, so they do not need to encrypt the information, they just have to invade the robot and prevent it from working, so the business starts to lose money automatically.
If you do not know, the Pepper robot has a tablet attached to the chest. In this tablet, a store may, for example, include demo videos or include a customer support system. The ransomware developed by IOActive has the ability to use this tablet to make the robot a malicious agent.
It is believed that, currently, about 10,000 Pepper robots are already operating around the world, especially in the United States. There, the core businesses that use the NAO robots involve the Sprint communications company and Pizza Hut. Each Pepper Robot costs about $9,000 plus service fees.
The danger is not for today
Research shows that the fear of being blackmailed by robots is something that can happen in the future. “In the special case of sex robots, where privacy and intimacy are a primary concern of the user, lack of discretion in contacting technical support, organizing customer service, can encourage users to pay a ransom for the return of a robot dealing with the emotional consequences,” the research says.
What does that mean? In a society with more and more robots, our bond with machines will become more and more common. We can get to the time when hackers will take advantage of this feeling to kidnap robots, steal private data and demand payments as the release.
Incidentally, security and robots are something that is not yet very well established. A vulnerability in NAO (humanoid) robots, also exploited by IOActive previously, has already shown that these machines can become devices for spying.