Security Voices

Next Gen Social Engineering: Hacking Humans with Social Roboticist, Straithe



In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy for thoughts to stray to the apocalypse. Nowhere is this tendency more common than when we talk about robots. Decades of books, movies and television have explored the topic of “when robots attack” and the calamity that follows. Today, domestic robots struggle to make it up the stairs and Siri can’t reliably order take-out… or even take notes. It all feels very far-fetched. And it is. However, if we move past the science fiction and look more closely at developments between humans and robots, we can begin to see some startling developments. This is the domain of Straithe, a pioneering researcher who studies how interactions between humans and robots can be abused and manipulated. We know very well how email, phone calls and websites can be used as part of elaborate social engineering schemes, what happens when the attacker’s tool looks like a person and can physically interact with us? While domestic robots like the Jetson’s Rosie are not wheeling around our