Today, many entrepreneurs are adopting collaborative robots with the aim of enhancing safety in the workplace. While collaborative robots can be among the most secure areas of a company’s production structure in regard to cyber attack threats and human-machine collaboration, it is important to understand that they operate in online based environments.

Of course, collaborative robots also known as cobots are quite promising in terms of enhanced productivity, efficiency, and innovation. However, they also have drawbacks. When a company accommodates a huge percentage of their operations online, they become more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Of course, these may not target the cobots directly but could have a negative impact on their performance. Below are various cyber protection risks which may indirectly or directly influence collaborative robots.

Unsecured Surroundings

The digitization of major operations in the manufacturing and other sectors is often referred to as Industry 4.0. This has raised some concerns, especially in the IIoT (industrial internet of things) prospect. IIoT is a subsection of the internet of things and both define the increasing network of sensors and gadgets connected through networks.

The spotlight on IIoT in this context is based on industrial settings. In both IoT and IIoT, various gadgets may be deficient of utmost security record. The collaborative robot as mentioned above may not be at risk. However, a cybercriminal accessing your network could navigate through to the cobot via the connectivity.

As companies consider integrating cobots with IIoT gadgets, it is important to factor in different concrete strategies of safeguarding access to the gadget. Actually, they should ensure that the manufacturers of their industrial internet of things gadgets uphold stringent software protection practices. Failure to this could jeopardize security and endanger the cobot.

If nothing is done to curb the situation, it could worsen in the future. Unprotected gadgets that were not connected previously may begin connecting to system connections and the internet necessitating easy access to their management functions and data.

colabborative arms

The advancing impression of industrial automation increases the need to report, monitor, and act on the available automation systems which includes collaborative robots.

Industrial Intelligence

Cyber intelligence focused on private and public targets pose huge cyber threats today. Secret information regarding ongoing company research, financial situation, new products, and data is critical. Losing control of such crucial data even for seconds can be quite detrimental.

Cyber intelligence can begin with direct cyber attacks, USB sticks, malware and virus-infected websites, and phishing emails. The objective of such attacks is to obtain critical data which may include data that navigates between cobot and other company sources whether mainstream systems or individuals.

By accessing such information, cyber spies are likely to obtain critical data about prototypes or product specifications.

Cybercrime; Hostage or Malware Situations

Cyber intelligence could result in cybercrime for instance in terms of malware that attacks computers in your establishment and releases them at a fee. Universal Robots experts opine that while many people may believe that they are protecting the cobot by not networking it or by using an automation connection other than the internet; this is far from the truth.

Malware is capable of reproducing and spreading to other systems. When the cobot connects to an endangered system either for program modification or other maintenance based functions, it is exposed to the malware. Assuming the malware is programmed to manipulate the unpatched cobots’ security exposure, it eventually becomes endangered.

There are two particular cyber threat types which can be detrimental for cobots. The first focuses on dismantling particular software brands or cobots. It targets a certain exposure, obtains access, and damages the gadget processes. The second one is automated attacks against popular base system exposures.

Hostage or Malware SituationsHostage or Malware Situations

It can have an impact on collaborative robots and other industrial automation systems. These attacks can pose a vast range of effects including disabling the entire plants and the recovery process could be costly and prolonged.  

Finally

By understanding these cyber security risks, companies will work closely with IT experts to strategize and come up with robust concepts on how to overcome them.

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