How to Attack and Defend a Prosthetic Arm

The IoT world has long since grown beyond the now-ubiquitous smartwatches, smartphones, smart coffee machines, cars capable of sending tweets and Facebook posts and other stuff like fridges that send spam. Today’s IoT world now boasts state-of-the-art solutions that quite literally help people. Take, for example, the biomechanical prosthetic arm made by Motorica Inc. This device helps people who have lost their limb to restore movement.

Via dedicated sensors, the biomechanical prosthetic arm reads the muscle contraction parameters and analyzes them to produce movements with the robotic fingers. The arm takes little time to get used to standard movements, after which it becomes a full-fledged assistant.

Like other IoT devices, the prosthetic arm sends statistics to the cloud, such as movement amplitudes, the arm’s positions, etc. And just like other IoT devices, this valuable invention must be checked for vulnerabilities.

In our research, we focused on those attack vectors that can be implemented without the arm owner’s knowledge. Below is a standard diagram of the arm’s interactions with the outside world.

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Source: Kaspersky Lab