Cybersecurity protects internet-connected devices, such as hardware, software, and data from various online threats. Businesses require cybersecurity to safeguard their data, intellectual property, and money. The global cybersecurity market size in 2021 was $216.10 billion and is predicted to increase to $478.68 billion by 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% during the 2021-2030 forecast period.

Cybersecurity in the manufacturing sector is becoming increasingly important as cyberattacks are becoming more frequent and severe. Collaborative robots heavily depend on IT to create a fenceless collaborative environment between humans and robots. Cybersecurity threats in collaborative robots are particularly serious because the consequences of an attack can range from data theft to product damage and human injuries.The global collaborative robots market size was $701.56 million in 2021 and is predicted to reach $2506.90 million by 2030, representing a CAGR of 15.2%.

Recent trends

Cyber-physical systems — Cyber-physical systems (CFSs) incorporate and coordinate physical processes with computational elements, communication networks, and remote information storage. Furthermore, CF operates through "systems of systems" that interact and communicate with one another via networks and software.

The development of sensors and actuators to perform control actions, monitoring, self-learning, and process reconfiguration are the key functions of CFSs. The internet and the IoT have allowed current industrial systems to be more flexible, suitable, durable, expandable, usable, and secure. CFSs have been used in a variety of fields, including robotics, health care, transportation, surveillance, smart cities, and gaming.

In today's industry, CFS enables real-time monitoring of the condition of machines or processes, the detection of anomalies, the prediction of failures, and cloud as a service, all of which contribute to the awareness of more productive, sustainable, and efficient factories.

Modernized ISO Standards — The most recent updates, ISO 10218-1 and ISO 10218-2, provide information on collaborative work requirements and cooperation task typologies. ISO 10218-1 includes the operation of the safety control system, motion braking, and speed control, while ISO 10218-2 includes manual guidance, interface windows, and cooperative workspaces. The most recent technical specification, ISO/TS 15066: 2016, attempts to further specify human-robot collaboration by enhancing the requirements and guidelines established in ISO 10218.

Efficiency in interaction — There is no single method for improving the efficiency of intelligent human-robot systems. The field of collaborative robot research is continuously developing adaptive control systems for the robot, intelligent human-robot interfaces, sensor systems, information processing algorithms, basic elements of robotic and mechatronic systems, efficient interactions with the external environment, bionic and biomedical technologies in robotic solutions, multi-agent robotic systems with safe and secure communication, and more.

Cybersecurity risks that can affect collaborative robots

Unsecured environments — The IoT and IIoT are two of the most concerning aspects of Industry 4.0. Both terms refer to the expanding network of devices and sensors linked by networks. While the collaborative robot itself is not directly at risk, a hacker with access to the network can gain access to the robot through its connectivity.

Industrial espionage —  Today, cyber espionage — aimed at both public and private targets — is a major cyberthreat. It's critical to keep information related to company research, products, and finances confidential. Even losing control for a short period of time can be extremely dangerous. Also, Phishing emails, virus- and malware-infected websites or USB sticks, and direct cyberattacks can all be used to launch cyber espionage. Regardless of the attack method, the goal is to extract vital data.

Cybercrime — There are two types of cyberthreats that are particularly dangerous for collaborative robots. One type is designed to disable/break specific brands of robots or software. It frequently involves targeting a vulnerability, gaining access, and causing damage or holding a process hostage for an extended period of time. The second type is automated attacks on known vulnerabilities in a base system, such as a specific Linux kernel version that affects industrial automation systems, including collaborative robots.

  • Patches — Hackers frequently rely on outdated software to gain access to systems. According to a Gartner report, more than 90% of cybersecurity incidents utilized vulnerabilities that security experts had known about for at least a year, which can be a significant issue for collaborative robots in IoT or IIoT environments.
  • Cyber paralysis — One of the most serious cybersecurity threats is not directly related to collaborative robots, but it prevents businesses from fully utilizing collaborative robots.

The robotics sector is becoming more accepted due to the rise in automation. The industry is making considerable efforts to increase cybersecurity strategies in this arena to reduce vulnerabilities.