Robots present a cyber risk

The security of robots lies with many in organisations.

By Bob Violino
Nov. 10, 2016

At many organizations, top security and IT executives will have a key role in robotics security, especially if robotics efforts are tied to IT-related areas such as cloud services, mobile applications and big data/analytics initiatives.

“The CISO and/or CSO is the titular head of cyber security, and is the leading executive whose job it is to inform and coordinate with the CEO and other designated people to protect the company’s robotic infrastructure as well as the people working in the organization,” Atwood says.

Curran agrees. “The CISO and his IT team should assume responsibility for all connected devices including robots,” he says. “No distinction should be made between a Web-enabled robot and a router in a back office.”

Appropriate preventive and corrective controls in the form of policies, standards, procedures or technology functions and monitoring mechanisms are needed to minimize the risks associated with deploying any connected devices within an organization, Curran adds.

Robots themselves might in some cases play a role on the security team.

“Already, security intrusion detection robots have been developed by many companies,” Curran says. “These for the most part consist of smaller mobile robots with cameras and movement detection, which move around a building looking for intrusion.”

These machines use technology such as high-definition cameras, sensors, and microphones to measure a variety of conditions and actions.

“There is [always] the risk of such robots being hacked, therefore additional measures need to be taken such as implementing extra security authentication—perhaps facial recognition of the owner when opening panels,” Curran says. “There is a real risk of privacy invasion,” especially in the case of a robot that has complete freedom to roam inside a building, he says, “so we have to ensure that the surveillance footage is securely stored.”

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