Meet HoneyBot, the robot designed to defend factories against cyber threats

Meet HoneyBot, the robot designed to defend factories against cyber threats

A team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a four wheel robot small enough to fit inside a shoebox which is designed to defend factories against cyber threats.

The diminutive device is designed to lure in digital troublemakers who have set their sights on industrial facilities; HoneyBot will then trick the bad actors into giving up valuable information to cybersecurity professionals.

The decoy robot arrives as more and more devices – never designed to operate on the Internet – are coming online in homes and factories alike, opening up a new range of possibilities for hackers looking to wreak havoc in both the digital and physical world.

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“Robots do more now than they ever have, and some companies are moving forward with, not just the assembly line robots, but free-standing robots that can actually drive around factory floors,” said Raheem Beyah, the Motorola Foundation Professor and interim Steve W. Chaddick School Chair in Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “In that type of setting, you can imagine how dangerous this could be if a hacker gains access to those machines. At a minimum, they could cause harm to whatever products are being produced. If it’s a large enough robot, it could destroy parts or the assembly line. In a worst-case scenario, it could injure or cause death to the humans in the vicinity.”

Internet security professionals long have employed decoy computer systems known as “honeypots” as a way to throw cyberattackers off the trail.

The research team applied the same concept to the HoneyBot, which is partially funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation.


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