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Security Experts Hack Teleoperated Surgical Robot

Security Experts Hack Teleoperated Surgical Robot MIT Technology Review


The control console connects to the robot over a standard network, which the attacking computer is also linked to. This set up allows the attacking computer to intercept and manipulate the signals sent in both directions between the control console and the robot.

The team tries out three type of attacks. The first changes the commands sent by the operator to the robot by deleting, delaying or re-ordering them. This causes the robot’s movement to become jerky and difficult to control.

The second type of attack modifies the intention of signals from the operator to the robot by changing, say, the distance an arm should move or the degree it should rotate and so on. “Most of these attacks had a noticeable impact on the Raven immediately upon launch,” say Bonaci and co.

The final category of attack is a hijacking that completely takes over the robot. This turns out to be relatively easy since the Interoperable Telesurgery Protocol is publicly available. “We effectively took control over the teleoperated procedure,” they say.

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This is a potentially frightening attack technique in cyberwar. 

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