The humanoid robot Pepper has security flaws Picture: Christopher Jue
DURBAN - According to Swedish researchers, Pepper a human-shaped robot is not equipped properly when it comes to security.

Researchers at Örebro University and the Technical University in Sweden ran penetration tests to check how secure Pepper is.

The researchers did a set of different security assessments, which were automated and manual. In their analysis, they found security flaws which show that the manufacturer neglected security assessments of the robot before the product was commercialised.

The robot had the following flaws:

1. Spectre/meltdown vulnerability
2. The admin page does not have an encryption
3. There are no strong countermeasures
4. The root password can be changed easily and the default password is well documented
5. Pepper can be remotely controlled

The researchers also said that the robot can be used to trick user credentials, steal data that is stored on the bot as well as hack other linked devices. The robot can also be used to cause physical harm to humans.

Pepper's makers Softbank Robotics have been berated by the researchers saying that the company took a product that was designed for research and have turned it into a commercial device without even thinking about the security.

The researchers wrote that the manufacturers should contemplate the security elements of their products, before putting them on the market for sale.

According to Nedbank, they do own a humanoid robot but it has not been utilised.

Vodacom also used a Pepper robot earlier this year but it is not clear whether the bot is still in operation.

What is Pepper?

Pepper, as mentioned above, is a human-shaped robot that was to be a daily companion for people. The main quality of Pepper is its ability to perceive emotions.

The robot is the first humanoid robot that has the capability to identify human emotions and changing his behaviour to the mood of his interlocutor.




- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE