The Allen Telescope Array, used by Northern California's SETI Institute in its often difficult-to-fund search for extraterrestrial life.Redding Record Searchlight / Zuma Press This story was originally published by Undark and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Science is built on the boldly curious exploration of the natural world. Astounding leaps of imagination and insight--coupled with a laser like focus on empiricism and experimentation--have brought forth countless wonders of insight into the workings of the universe we find ourselves in. But the culture that celebrates, supports, and rewards the audacious mental daring that is the hallmark of science is at risk of collapsing under a mountain of cautious, risk-averse, incurious advancement that seeks merely to win grants and peer approval. I've encountered this problem myself.
Robots applications in our daily life increase at an unprecedented pace. As robots will soon operate "out in the wild", we must identify the safety and security vulnerabilities they will face. Robotics researchers and manufacturers focus their attention on new, cheaper, and more reliable applications. Still, they often disregard the operability in adversarial environments where a trusted or untrusted user can jeopardize or even alter the robot's task. In this paper, we identify a new paradigm of security threats in the next generation of robots. These threats fall beyond the known hardware or network-based ones, and we must find new solutions to address them. These new threats include malicious use of the robot's privileged access, tampering with the robot sensors system, and tricking the robot's deliberation into harmful behaviors. We provide a taxonomy of attacks that exploit these vulnerabilities with realistic examples, and we outline effective countermeasures to prevent better, detect, and mitigate them.