A hacker has managed to remotely disable a machine-gun-equipped robot dog. It’s a trick that could come in handy in the event of an uprising of machines against humans!
In July 2022, the video of a robot dog equipped with a machine gun surfaced and terrified Internet users. However, a hacker nicknamed KF@dotslash on Twitter and MAVProxyUser on GitHub discovered how to neutralize this impressive robot using a simple portable hacking tool.
All the people who laughed off the “worrywarts” years ago for freaking out about the Funny Dancing Robot Dogs ™ should be forced to watch this video once a day for the remainder of the year. pic.twitter.com/WBIrlGah3w
– Sean Chiplock @ Crunchyroll Expo (@sonicmega) July 20, 2022
On Twitter, dotslash announces: ” Good news! Remember that robot dog you saw with a gun? It was made by @UnitreeRobotic. Looks like all you need to throw him in the mud is the @flipper_zero tool. PDB has a 433 mhz backdoor “.
The terrifying robot dog disabled by a simple Pinball Zero
The video shows one of the Unitree robot dogs connected to a dotslash power source. A hand then enters the frame, activating the Flipper Zero: a versatile hacking devicesimilar in appearance to a Tamagotchi, and capable of wireless communication via RFID, Bluetooth, NFC and other protocols. As soon as the hacker presses the Flipper’s activation button, the robot dog becomes paralyzed before collapsing to the ground.
Interviewed by Motherboard magazine, Dotslash explains how he hacked the robot dog. According to him, the large gray box seen in the video is an external 24-volt power sourceso it doesn’t have to charge its battery constantly while developing.
After getting his hands on one of the Unitree robot dogs, he started reading the documentation. Quickly, the hacker made an intriguing discovery…
A signal on the 433 MHz frequency is enough to switch off the robot
Good news! Remember that robot dog you saw with a gun!? It was made by @UnitreeRobotics. Seems all you need to dump it in the dirt is @flipper_zero. The PDB has a 433mhz backdoor. No need for @gnuradio! cc/ @UnitreeRobot007 @IrvingRobotics @shunweicapital pic.twitter.com/6PJHjcsgJL
– KF (@d0tslash) August 4, 2022
Each robot actually comes with a switch for remote deactivation. This button is attached to its power distribution board, i.e. the part of the machine that transfers energy from the battery to the various systems.
As it turns out, this kill switch scans the 433 MHz frequency band in search of a specific signal. As soon as it receives the signal, it instantly deactivates the robot. In fact, even the remote control for instant remote deactivation of Unitree robot dogs is included in the box.
This valuable information enabled dostlash to simulate the deactivation protocol using a Flipper Zero. It only had to copy the signal which the robot dog’s remote control transmits via the 433 MHz frequency.
The hacker shared his work and the emulation of the remote control code on GitHub. If you’re worried that robot dogs will soon start stalking humans, as in the Black Mirror series, consider buying a Pinball Zero before it’s too late!