Stealth Attacks on Robotic Vehicles Reveal Loopholes of its Design

Stealth Attacks on Robotic Vehicles Reveal Loopholes of its Design

A study by the University of British Columbia indicates that robotic vehicles such as Mars rovers or Amazon delivery drones could be hacked easily. It is a lot easier to hack than many people could even think of.


Meanwhile, the researchers from the department of applied science, University of British Columbia, developed three different types of secret attack. The design was to mount an attack on robotic vehicles, which resulted in an excessive delay in the accomplishment of a task, missing their targets, and crashing machines. Having no or little human intervention, these attacks can succeed on both simulated and real drone rovers.


Attackers Exploit Deviations from Set Travel Plan to Mount an Attack on the Vehicle

Karthik Pattabiraman is a professor in the electrical and computer engineering department, University of British Columbia. Professor Pattabiraman states that loopholes in the software of robotic vehicles enable attackers to disrupt the various kinds of behavior of these machines. The worrisome part is long used techniques are unable to detect the attacks.


Robotic vehicles make use of some algorithms to remain on track whilst in motion. It uses algorithms for flagging of any suspicious behavior that signals an attack on the vehicle. However, these algorithms allow deviation from the set travel plan. Such deviations are related to various external factors like wind and friction. Attackers leverage these deviations for their own benefits. Therefore, the research team from the University of British Columbia has come up with an automated procedure that will permit the attacker to learn about these deviations a lot quicker. Upon learning, hackers are capable of mounting an attack on the vehicle stealthily. 


Pritam Dash is a graduate student of electrical and computer engineering, University of British Columbia. Dash opines that robotic vehicles already have an important role to play I warehouse management, surveillance and other such activities. As such, the is an increasing need for brining in improved safety measures for these vehicles, adds Dash


The findings of their work will be presented at the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference in Puerto Rico sometime next month.

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