One of the pleasures of consuming old science fiction movies and novels is that they capture the mood of the time in which they are written. Captain Kirk was a 1960s guy and Picard was a 1990s guy, after all. Cold war science fiction often dealt with invasion. In the 1960s and 70s, you were afraid of losing your job to a computer, so science fiction often had morality tales of robots running amok, reminding us what a bad idea it was to give robots too much power. As it turns out, robots might be dangerous, but not for the reasons we thought. The robots won’t turn on us by themselves. But they could be hacked. To that end, there’s a growing interest in robot cybersecurity and Alias Robotics is releasing Alurity, a toolbox for robot cybersecurity.
Currently, the toolbox is available for Linux and MacOS with some support for Windows. It targets 25 base robots including the usual suspects. There’s a white paper from when the product entered testing available if you want more technical details.
We aren’t clear about the licensing details of Alurity. There is a GitHub repo that has some components, and there is mention of an individual license and an educational one, but no real details about pricing. However, the repo has some interesting items including the RVD or Robot Vulnerability Database, that is worth reading (the issues, not the code) if you are working with industrial robots.
If you are satisfied that your robot is off the grid and physically secure, maybe you don’t care. However, the cybersecurity world is full of stories of bad actors breaking into something as innocuous as a thermostat or camera and then pivoting into business and industrial control networks that were considered highly secure. No one wants to be that story in tomorrow’s newspaper. Of course, you can get cybersecurity insurance, but good luck getting it to pay out.