The Dangers of Interactive Home Robots

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Rosie the robot cooked, cleaned and chastised the kids on “The Jetsons” while spinning around on caster wheels. Although Alexa and Google Home are not ready to dust your furniture, interactive home robots are becoming more common and intelligent. These machines can be useful, but they can also create problems for their human owners. While they are recording every moment, this creates the potential for hackers to steal your information. It is also possible for these robots to become weapons or spies.

Home Robots

Some devices, such as Google Home and Alexa, do not have wheels and cannot move around your home. However, they can still interact with you through voice commands and other features. On the other hand, interactive home robots like Pepper, Temi and Kuri can roam your house and move freely. Both types can make your life easier in some ways, but they may also create problems.

Hacking Dangers

From ransomware attacks to computer viruses, hackers have shown their ability to infiltrate any device. Unfortunately, interactive home robots are not immune. Since they are capable of recording sound and video, it is possible for them to store sensitive information about your entire household. This makes them a goldmine for eager hackers who want to either sell the data or use it against you.

Security and privacy risks are a concern for many people. From built-in cameras to web access, interactive home robots have features that can make a home susceptible to hacking. A report from the University of Washington found that hackers can identify homes with robots and possibly hijack the devices. IOActive showed that people could take the video and audio from interactive home robots like Pepper and store the information on their own servers.

Weapons and Spies

Home robots may look innocent and may not have a malicious plan, but in the wrong hands, they can turn into weapons or spies. IOActive proved it was possible to hack into devices from Universal Robots, which is a company that makes collaborative robots. This allowed them to stop safety programs designed to protect the humans working with the devices. IOActive believes the security issues open the robots to programming that could harm people. A robot that can help may also be able to kill.

Staying Safe

Cybersecurity has to extend to interactive home robots. First, you have to be aware of what information a robot can capture and store. Second, you have to know who has access to that data. In addition, it is important to pay attention to security vulnerabilities and potential threats.


About the Author

Lana Bandoim is a freelance writer and editor. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Butler University. Her work has appeared on Forbes, Yahoo! News, Business Insider, Lifescript, Healthline and many other publications. She has been a judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She has also been nominated for a Best Shortform Science Writing award by the Best Shortform Science Writing Project.