In a recent research between Trend Micro, the company famed for selling antivirus protection for computers around the world, in collaboration with Politecnico di Milano conducted some tests which concluded to say that factory robot have weak networks. This could mean a potential disaster if these machines were compromised.
In the video below, Trend Micro demoed that by just a simple hack, where a machine is compromised, a small 2mm defect in some processes can cause catastrophic damage to the company. Imagine if a competitor wanted to sabotage, a small defect caused by these machines which can go completely unnoticed but cause core issues to the product may affect the overall company’s public perception and share outlook (especially if they have to force a recall).
The research team found that certain robots in factories were using IP addresses which were not masked and are available publically. This would evidently increase the risk of hackers getting access to them. Sometimes the setup of these machines was done in mind of operators who have to traverse large areas or multiple factory sites which then allows them to remotely access the machines to send them commands or check the statuses. If these connections were not secure or encrypted, hackers could also hijack this connection and cause havoc.
You can read the full report here.