Prediction 2020: First Virus Written Specifically To Target/Attack Robots

  1. By 2025, Industrial robots will become a target of “bad actors” seeking to disrupt manufacturing and production. The virus may use traditional methods of infiltration, via phishing schemes, open network access, poor security, etc. Crippling production may be a goal of rogue nations, terrorists, and rival economies.
  2. Advances in AI and chips will exacerbate this problem.
  3. This has the potential to generate an exponential explosion in self-replicating (and eventually self-evolving) viruses.
  4. Viruses will find better ways of camouflaging themselves, extending dormancy periods, and perpetuating themselves in non-lethal forms for extended periods.


Recently, a strain of malware called Silex bricked over 4000 IoT devices within a few hours. In 2017 it was the Brickerbot malware and in 2016 the Mirai malware.


Leading indicators

In the future, expect malware and virus to code themselves in an effort to adapt to immediate environments. Robots will be a likely target since they are a subset of IoT, and many are connected devices that use internal and/or external networks making it easier to spread viruses.

  • Increase in unknown or unusual traffic in networking such as size differentials, resource usage, etc.
  • Uniformed malfunctions and outages



    • Increase network security R&D
    • Advance alternatives in networking—viruses thrive on the commonplace in code and hardware
    • Develop redundancies to lessen the effects of infection, such as mirrors and backups


Recommended Reading


The views and opinions in this analysis are my own and do not represent positions or opinions of The Analyst Syndicate. Read more on the Disclosure Policy.