Executive Summary

Industrial robots are improving in terms of capability and performance, and their use across manufacturing and associated in – dustries where fast, accurate and repetitive work is required is growing fast.

The need for safety in such systems has been recognised for many years, and the increasing proximity of collaborati – ve robots with human workers continues the need for safe working practices. As industrial robots become smarter, better connected and linked to the internet there are now increased risks from cyber security related threats that can undermine the safe use and deployment of robots, lead to intellectual property loss, production delays and possibly effect physical damage. The good news is that with an appropriate cyber security risk review, followed by product testing and the imple – mentation of proportionate controls an organisation can be assured their industrial robots are operating in a safe and secure way

This paper discusses the cyber security aspects of industrial robots and provides a way forward for manu- facturers, system implementers and operators. It will bring together best practices from other industries and the broad experience from across TÜV Rheinland


Undoubtedly robots have transformed the world of manufacturing and are set to impact the provision of other services and medical care in the same way. Industry 4.0 will continue to drive the adoption of robots in manufactu – ring, service robots will gain increasing usage around the home in support of aging populations and remote tele- medicine robots will enable complex surgery to be under- taken in remote and maybe hostile environments. Like any complex electromechanical system robots are subject to cyber security threats that can impact their safe and secure functioning. No longer can a robot be conside – red safe if its cyber security risks haven’t been evaluated and addressed. Interconnected robots using common but unsecured internet protocols coupled with vulnerable operating systems that are rarely patched provide a huge surface area for attackers, and a significant challenge for defenders

What is a robot?

The term robot was derived in the early 20th century from  the Czech word robota, which means a serf or labourer.  Originally meant as an anti-technology jibe the word has  entered our current language to mean anything from a  science fiction robot such as The Terminator through to  the myriad of mechanical machines performing repetitive  tasks on a production line. With such use in factories and  facilities across the world humans have been usurped from  many mundane and often dangerous tasks.  For the purposes of this paper a robot is defined as  „a reprogrammable, multifunctional manipulator, designed  to move materials, parts, tools or devices by means of  variable programmed movements, with the purpose of  accomplishing different tasks” (Mark W. Spong, 2004)