A user has uploaded a video on YouTube of a dog robot hijacked for military purposes and equipped with an assault rifle. It took about twenty days for a hacker to find a way to disable it remotely.
In July, a video posted on YouTube terrified all Internet users. A Russian user had staged a dog robot – similar to the famous Boston Dynamics devices – equipped with a machine gun and firing autonomously at a target. Many mysteries surrounded this “Terminator on legs”: how the weapon was connected, how could it be activated and who was behind this DIY?
Before having these answers, a hacker has already found a way to deactivate the robot in one click. He describes his method in a post on GitHub published on August 5.
A copy of the initial stop signal
The user, named d0tslash, simultaneously posted on Twitter a demonstration of his remote control, capable of neutralizing the device. The latter is a machine from the Chinese brand Unitree – the same model as on the video – and the hacker uses a Pinball Zero to control it.
This little gadget, known in the cyber community, can send out radio waves. The hacker copied the code from the original remote and sent a 433 MHz signal from his Pinball Zero. However, you must be placed at a distance close enough to the robot to stop it. The whole process has been unveiled as open source on GitHub.
Even if killer robots are unlikely to be deployed by armies tomorrow, some initiatives raise questions about their use on the battlefield in the medium and long term. The vulnerability of these things to certain hacks is also a question that will become more and more important, because their reliability will depend on their resistance to certain attacks.
This story shows that these devices are still very permeable, which is a godsend for hackers. In addition, they also have to deal with retaliation. In Ukraine, for example, drones – which can just as easily be considered as killer robots – are harmed by guns emitting electromagnetic pulses.