From barista to pizza chef, automation is rapidly taking over the economy and is expected to replace 6% of the nation's jobs by 2021. Factories that make mobile phones, computers, cars and planes are also largely dependent on robots to assemble various products. By 2018, the number of industrial robots
used in the world will reach 1 million 300 thousand. This also means that 1 million 300 thousand robots are under the threat of hacker attacks.
In recent years, more and more factories will be connected to the internet robot, in order to remotely monitor the machine or upgrade. But like any networked device, robots are increasingly becoming a target for hackers. For industrial robots, it is important to enforce the programming instructions in the factory. Although humans are not comparable to machines in speed and endurance, at least we can help machines ensure network security.
Milan Industrial University and network security company Trend Micro researchers conducted a series of tests show that industrial robot network security capabilities are very weak. Some systems use only a simple user name and password that has not been changed. In addition, the software protection capability of industrial machines is also very poor, some are still running outdated software. What's more, thousands of robots are still using public IP addresses, making it easier for hackers to attack.
Operators and programmers can remotely manage these machines by sending instructions on their computers or mobile phones. If the connection is not secure, hackers can hijack the machine, causing damage or product defects. The remote control of the robot is usually a hand-held screen, equipped with buttons to operate or programming machines, often through the Internet remote access, and these network connections are not always safe and reliable. Through an insecure network connection, researchers can change the configuration file of the ABB robot, prompting it to draw the wrong line in the test.
ABB robot is programmed to draw a straight line, through the control system RobotWare and software RobotStudio reverse engineering operation, the researchers successfully hijacked the machine network, and operate it draw a short 2 mm straight line. Machines are usually programmed to perform precise actions, because even the smallest computational errors can lead to catastrophic defects.
Mark Nunikoho, vice president of cloud research Trend Micro (Mark Nunnikhoven), said: if these robots are responsible for welding chassis or aircraft wings, short 2 mm enough to cause disaster." ABB has fixed vulnerabilities in machine software, but the discovery of Trend Micro raises concerns about future automation. The company recommends that other companies in the automation of the plant before taking over the first industrial robot network security standards.
In addition to ABB, the researchers also provide for Fanuc, MITSUBISHI, Kawasaki and other manufacturers of Yaskawa robots were tested. The researchers said that other manufacturers of robots also have similar security vulnerabilities, but ABB is the only lending to the research team robots for voluntary testing company.