If you have never been hit with a ransomware attack consider yourself lucky. These attacks cost the victim a great deal of time, money and frustration as they deal with it and in some cases there is no resolution. This has hit many people’s computers and has also spread to people’s phones and now it has been extended to robots.

The ransomware threat

At least for now there is no threat. Researchers at a security firm called IOActive successfully made a ransomware attack on a SoftBank Robotics NAO humanoid robot. These robots as well as its more popular model Pepper are used in classrooms or stores to offer assistance. They have cameras and microphones installed to interact with people.

The researchers were able to install ransomware software as well as altering the robot’s behavior to say threatening messages. Stealing data stored on the robot would have been easy and they could have also put any message or video on the robot’s screen. They could have also just simply stolen the data of the robot’s interaction with people.

Update your devices

The good news in this case is that in order to attack the robot the attackers had to be on the same wi-fi network, meaning they were nearby which increases the chances of them being caught. This should hopefully give anyone pause from connecting something like this or even something like an Alexa device (which is also potentially vulnerable as well) over an open network. If you have one of these devices keep in connected to a secured network.

Everything on the Internet is vulnerable

Ransomware has become an epidemic today with attacks targeting small businesses, large businesses, hospitals, schools and even government agencies. Anything connected to the Internet is potentially vulnerable. The best thing that anyone can do is to keep their devices and security as up to date as possible and exercise caution when on the Internet. Ransomware is costing businesses huge amounts of money. Don’t let yours become the next victim.

SoftBank is working to correct the vulnerabilities discovered.

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