Sex dolls can be remotely programmed by hackers to harm people or even kill them

Sex dolls can be remotely programmed by hackers to harm people or even kill them

Sex dolls can be remotely programmed by hackers to harm people

In the recent past, we’ve heard about ultra-modern sex dolls saving marriages, providing people with the comfort they do not get elsewhere, and displaying emotions and thereby offering much more than sex. But according to a cyber security expert, sex dolls are after all AI machines and can be hacked into with devastating consequences.

Modern sex dolls can be hacked into like any other IoT device and can be remotely programmed by hackers to harm people or even kill them, a security researcher warns.

Later this month, American sex dolls maker Matt McMullen will launch Harmony 2.1, an ultra-modern sex doll in the UK who will speak in a Scottish accent and will cost between £7,600 and £15,200 depending on customisations.

As her price tag suggests, Harmony 2.1 is like no other sex doll. She can display various emotions like happiness, sensuality or shyness and can interact with her owner as naturally as possible. Add to it her expressive ideas, her life-like features and mannerisms and she can easily turn out to be the world’s most natural sex doll.

However, she isn’t the only one out there. Doll makers are now coming out with improved and more-natural versions of their sex dolls who can react differently to different queries, show various emotions, speak in different accents and ooze feminine sensuality customised to their buyers’ likings. However, while the advent of AI has surely made these dolls better, has anyone ever given a thought to exactly how cyber secure such dolls are?

‘Robots need an operating system to operate just like our phones, tablets and laptops. As we have seen, it’s popular to have everything connected to the internet these days – phones, fridges, surveillance cameras, smart homes… robots are no different,’ said cyber security expert Dr Nick Patterson to the Daily Star.

‘The last thing you want is for a hacker to have control over one of these robots! Once hacked they could absolutely be used to perform physical actions for an advantageous scenario or to cause damage,’ he added.

According to a recent statistic released by security firm Gemalto, the amount of money that IoT device makers in the UK invest in device security is the second lowest globally, with just 9% of their resources committed towards cyber security.

Considering that almost next to nothing is being spent on their security, devices sold by such vendors also rank poorly when it comes to data encryption. The firm added that only 52% of all data captured on IoT devices is encrypted in the UK. As far as AI-powered sex dolls are concerned, the statistic could be no different.

The lack of investment in IoT device security is also because of the fact that even though over 90% of consumers are worried about the security around their IoT devices, only 19% UK businesses believe that security is the main consideration for consumers when buying a device.

At the same time, the need to make IoT devices cheaper, more accessible and more user-friendly has forced IoT-device makers to pay less heed to security.

‘It’s not always going to a tech guru installing; as this technology becomes more widely available, the average user needs to be able to order, receive, (pre)setup and forget as quickly as possible to make it desirable for the untechnical user to embrace.

‘All of these features make the perfect recipe for disaster- one we have seen before, we will see again, and one which, worryingly, we will continue to see until security becomes a minimum standard for any internet connected device,’ said Mark James, Security Specialist at ESET.

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