As robotics have gotten more impressive, they’ve also become more deadly. The rise of more advanced robotics has resulted in “killer robot dogs” not only becoming military equipment but also available to make at home.
Last year, military defence company Ghost Robotics shocked the internet by revealing a robot dog with a back-mounted rifle. This year, a Russian man made one himself at home. But how can they be stopped?
Hacker beats Killer Robot Dogs
While not able to beat Ghost Robotics dogs, a hacker was able to find a way of turning off at-home robotic weapons. The viral video of the Russian robot dog with a rifle on its back was found to be based on a Unitree Robotics machine.
As it turns out, every Unitree Robotics robot dog has the same backdoor fault. Furthermore, that backdoor can be used to completely shut down killer robot dogs from afar.
Revealed on Twitter, hacker d0tslash discovered that the robot dogs have a 433mhz backdoor. Using a small device known as a Flipper Zero, the hacker was able to push a shutdown order on the robot dog.
In the video, a Unitree dog can be seen standing up in front of the camera. Afterwards, an arm — d0tslash’s, we guess — enters frame and presses a button on the flipper. The robot dog immediately shuts off, collapsing to the floor.
The hacker not only showcased the shutdown order, but also released it publicly. Now, anyone with a Flipper Zero can push the order to Unitree robots, if they so want to. Perhaps, this is going to end up being a reliable defence mechanics against those who wish to do harm.
Does this hack military robot dogs?
With the ability to force shut off killer robot dogs now available to anyone, many are wondering if this affects military robots. With the US military using robot dogs for missions and combat, these hacks could end up causing issues.
Of course, if the military is using Unitree Robotics dogs then they’re prime for hacking. However, the US military utilises a number of different robotic tools in this uncertain testing period. (They’re also likely to switch to Ghost Robotics tools anyways.)
Nevertheless, this could end up being an issue for some military procedures. But it sure is safer for the everyday person.