Your cat’s random wandering could be useful, with one innovator coming up with a collar your itinerant pet can wear to find open WiFi networks.
Building on the idea of WarDriving, where people drive round towns trying to find open or vulnerable networks, War Kitteh combines GPS and a WiFi network ‘sniffer’ to find places with insecure WiFi.
The equipment, mounted on a cat collar, has been developed by security expert Gene Bransfield from Tenacity Solutions, who told the DEFCON 22 conference in Las Vegas about his experiment.
Bransfield said: “I put some technology on a cat and let it roam around because the idea amused me. But the result of this cat research was that there were a lot more open and WEP-encrypted hot spots out there than there should be in 2014.”
The researcher attached the collar to a friend’s cat and it returned after three hours with data stored on an SD card about the insecure networks around his neighbourhood.
The kitty discovered 23 WiFi networks on one roam, which isn’t surprising when every router comes with built-in WiFi, but four of them were completely unprotected and four more used poor-quality WEP encryption.
War Kitteh isn’t just for fun, Bransfield told The Guardian: he hopes the story will raise awareness of home network security beyond tech circles, through the staggering 15 per cent of internet traffic dedicated to cats.
Animal-loving Bransfield also turned his dog to digital deviousness as the less inconspicuous Denial of Service Dog: wearing a prototype ‘backpack’ emblazoned with ‘Denial of Service’, it was walked around an area near his home during the World Cup.
Bransfield could use the equipment to scan bars with TVs showing the football and was able to turn them off remotely, using the equipment loaded onto the dog – although he was careful not to disrupt any USA games.
The combination of a Pineapple V wireless network tool and TV-B-Gone kit let him attack increasingly common smart TVs in poorly-secured venues, but Bransfield joke went over the confused viewers’ heads – people thought it was a police dog and didn’t realise it was the source of their blank screens.