Swarm hacking

The project will carry out a twofold exploration of “Swarm Hacking”. The technical track will explore the possibilities of hacking a group of robots, while the legal track will interpret these activities based on current legislation.

The overall goal is to produce a wake-up call, i.e., a case study that will be used (pro)actively to create awareness in the related professional communities as well as in the general public and politics.

The swarm will consist of e-puck robots available at the CI group (perhaps extended with other robots from the Game Cella). These will be set up to collectively perform some predefined task, e.g., identifying and collecting certain objects in the environment, autonomously, without direct user control. Importantly, the completion of the given task will necessitate communication and cooperation among the members of the swarm.

The technical track will aim at intercepting robot-to-robot communication and try to log, jam, and overrule it. The ultimate challenge is to inject hostile code into the swarm such that they change their behaviour. For instance, they could be forced to send a video feed to the hackers disclosing their activities and details of their environment, or they could be made moving the green balls to the right corner instead of bringing the red balls to the left corner. The swarm hardware and the scenario are “proxies” for a proof of concept to represent real-life situations of the future.

There are several legal aspects and consequences to the use and misuse of the swarm. The actions of the hackers will be analysed in legal terms, on private law and penal law consequences. The actions as such will be qualified concerning the existing law and the possibility of adapting the law will be discussed. Furthermore, the liability consequences in private law will be subject of study.

For a further description of the project, please visit https://www.dropbox.com/s/uzy6cxkf7njo48k/%2817%29%20Swarm-Hacking-project-FINAL.pdf?dl=0