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Connected Collar Lets Your Cat Do the War-Driving 110

Posted by timothy
from the wifi-password-|"pl[\'as[cnp dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Security researcher Gene Bransfield, with the help of his wife's grandmother's cat, decided to see how many neighborhood WiFi access points he could map and potentially compromise. With a collar loaded with a Spark chip, a Wi-Fi module, a GPS module, and a battery, Coco the cat helped Gene identify Wi-Fi networks around the neighborhood and then reported back. The goal here is obvious: Discover all of the unsecured, or at least poorly-secured, wireless access points around the neighborhood. During his journey, Coco identified dozens of Wi-Fi networks, with four of them using easily-broken WEP security, and another four that had no security at all. Gene has dubbed his collar the "WarKitteh", and it cost him less than $100 to make. He admits that such a collar isn't a security threat, but more of a goofy hack. Of course, it could be used for shadier purposes." (Here's Wired's article on the connected cat-collar.)
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Connected Collar Lets Your Cat Do the War-Driving

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  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:00PM (#47643731)
    I can haz internetz?
    • Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sycodon (149926) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:42PM (#47643917)

      The goal here is obvious: Discover all of the unsecured, or at least poorly-secured, wireless access points around the neighborhood.

      Here's what has to be asked...why? Any particular reason for wanting to know this?

      Isn't that pretty much like going to all the front doors and checking to see if they are locked?

      • He should get in touch with Mozilla to commercialise the idea.

        They have a 'stumbler' application to map the world using wifi. Create a campaign to map neighbourhoods by kitty!

        https://location.services.mozi... [mozilla.com]

      • Seems to me if he could get his cat to do it with a specially-designed techno-collar, he probably would do that too. And we'd all be impressed.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Phics (934282) on Monday August 11, 2014 @01:53AM (#47645203)

        It's kind of like giving the Coke machine down the hall an IP address with sensors.... 'why' becomes such an unimaginative and mundane question in such scenarios, and if pressed, can simply be answered with, "Because I can."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      they didnt mention denial of service dog. he was much better.

    • Toonses never talked like this.

    • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:25AM (#47645041) Homepage Journal

      There's no pussyfooting around the security implications. This, more than ever, proves that security is a cat-and-mouse game. The script kitties will be all over this -- they'll milk it for all it's worth.

      • This exploit is built around a flexible skeleton that can fit through the smallest holes. You can't remain insulated forever, and shedding the old will lead to a powered vacuum. This agile system sinks its claws into its opposition and quickly gets to the meat of the matter. Don't expect the fat cats to do much work -- someone has to get off their tails and get rid of all the vermin. You should be warned that this system is susceptible to worms.

    • by easyTree (1042254)

      I can haz internetz?

      I can haz lotz EM radiation thru ma hed.

  • Open WiFi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant (175943) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:04PM (#47643753) Journal

    If people just left their WiFi open, it wouldn't be called a vulnerability, it would be called ubiquitous connectivity.

    • by godrik (1287354)

      Indeed, I leave my WiFi open by choice. This is not a vulnerability, but an choice.

      • When someone uses your connection excessively in the opinion of your ISP, watch "an choice" become "an bill". Or when someone uses your connection for copyright infringement or child pornography, watch "an choice" become "an lawsuit" or "an criminal charge".
        • by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:53AM (#47645087) Homepage Journal

          When someone uses your connection excessively in the opinion of your ISP, watch "an choice" become "an bill". Or when someone uses your connection for copyright infringement or child pornography, watch "an choice" become "an lawsuit" or "an criminal charge".

          When someone does the same over your secured connection, either because you shared your password with the wrong friends, someone guessed your password, or you got hacked, good luck explaining to a jury that it's possible for others to use your secured connection.

          • by easyTree (1042254)

            When someone uses your connection excessively in the opinion of your ISP, watch "an choice" become "an bill". Or when someone uses your connection for copyright infringement or child pornography, watch "an choice" become "an lawsuit" or "an criminal charge".

            When someone does the same over your secured connection, either because you shared your password with the wrong friends, someone guessed your password, or you got hacked, good luck explaining to a jury that it's possible for others to use your secured co

        • The lawsuit and criminal charge come later. What comes first is the police search of all your files. I don't know how disruptive this is; I suspect it varies depending on the police department.

          Nobody's going to sue or prosecute based on what went across your connection. They will get either a discovery motion or a search warrant.

      • Just because it's by choice doesn't mean it's not a vulnerability. You can choose to never lock your front door, but that doesn't mean it's not a vulnerability... it just means you made the choice not to secure it.

        • I'm gifting my bandwidth to those who happen to be nearby. That's no vulnerability.
          My internal LAN is secured.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      no, its a feature, spurious, semi-high availability fallback networking feature..
       

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Unsecured and proud of it. I am amazed, in all the locations I've lived, typically I see about 10 networks around me. Mine is consistently the only one that is open and free. Just about everybody who's come over has asked me, "aren't you worried?" About what? The FBI gonna take me in for not encrypted my wireless? Truth be told, for whatever reason, I always had to reset the damn thing in the past when I used a password. Now that it's open, it works like a champ. I don't recall resetting it for over 6 month

  • Sounds like the start of a problem written by someone why doesn't know the alphabet starts with A and B instead of C and G.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:15PM (#47643815)

    Just because a lock is weak doesn't give you the right to break it and enter the place. That argument wouldn't stand in court for physical access, stop deluding yourself that you have the "right" to access WEP-secured networks.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Just because a lock is weak doesn't give you the right to break it and enter the place

      He didn't say it did.

      > That argument wouldn't stand in court

      What argument? The man simply stated a fact. WEP *is* weak.

      > stop deluding yourself

      Oh, go take your Ritalin.

      • I didn't say he did either, my reply was a comment aimed at some Slashdot readers.

        You're two hours late for your Ritalin by the way.

    • by Cyfun (667564)

      No shit, Sherklock. Wardriving isn't about hacking networks, it's about mapping them passively and gathering real-world statistics about how many networks are properly secured and how many aren't.

      Besides, if a cat can hack your WEP, good luck taking him to court.

      • Where did I say that wardriving was about hacking networks? As usual, as soon as you make a generic comment, people on Slashdot always assume you're attacking them personally and making stupid pointless replies.

        • I lol'd.

          As usual, as soon as you make a generic comment, people on Slashdot always assume you're attacking them personally and making stupid pointless replies.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    My cat particularly enjoys standing on the keyboard while I am attempting to write code, resulting in constructs such as:


    for (int x=0; x<10; ++iaaqaaaqaaassssaqqaqaaaaddaqqqqaawa

    Which doesn't even bloody compile.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      'cat' doesn't care what the input is, it just spits it to standard out. :)

      • 'cat' doesn't care what the input is, it just spits it to standard out. :)

        In my experience, $CAT prefers to spit to errout, especially if I've crossed her...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      My cat particularly enjoys standing on the keyboard while I am attempting to write code, resulting in constructs such as:


      for (int x=0; x<10; ++iaaqaaaqaaassssaqqaqaaaaddaqqqqaawa

      Which doesn't even bloody compile.

      It would compile if you had a global variable named iaaqaaaqaaassssaqqaqaaaaddaqqqqaawa.

  • by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:27PM (#47643865)

    Over $25 million dollars was spent to install a battery, transmitter and microphone into a cat, with an antenna in its tail.

    They dropped the cat off to eavesdrop on two men in a park near the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC. The cat was hit and killed by a taxi while walking across the road.

    The project was expensive, gruesome, and a failure. It was abandoned in 1967.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

    http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Over $25 million dollars was spent to install a battery, transmitter and microphone into a cat, with an antenna in its tail.

      They dropped the cat off to eavesdrop on two men in a park near the Soviet Embassy in Washington DC. The cat was hit and killed by a taxi while walking across the road.

      The project was expensive, gruesome, and a failure. It was abandoned in 1967.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

      http://mentalfloss.com/article... [mentalfloss.com]

      That's what they want you to think. The truth is that there is now an entire army of CIA spy cats.

      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @09:09PM (#47644535) Homepage

        No, the truth is that there are a couple of folks who split 25 million dollars and one squashed cat intermixed with some random electronic parts.

      • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @11:40PM (#47644941)

        That's what they want you to think. The truth is that there is now an entire army of CIA spy cats.

        You must not be a cat owner. The real truth, the truth they don't want anyone to know, is that the CIA, NSA, FBI, KGB, IRS, and especially the DMV, are entirely run by cats. That acoustic cat was actually a senior agent, trusted with testing a next gen prototype. He was not "run over by a car", he was assassinated by an enemy agent. That thing cats do in the middle of the night, where they charge around the house as if an axe murderer were on a spree? That is spy versus spy warfare, your cat saved your life. There's a war going on, a war most of us never see, and it rages under your bed, on your kitchen counters, even on top of your refrigerator.

        The NSA isn't so much monitoring your email to see what dirty emails you send each other, they're looking for coded messages from field agents as they "walk across the keyboard". They no longer need acoustic agents, the agents are simply embedded everywhere, and they are always watching. It sounds as if this Snowden person has altered the communications flow, necessitating another field trial of a more "cat in the middle" interception plan. War kitteh is a hero.

         

        • he was assassinated by an enemy agent.

          If I'm not mistaken, the enemy agent was probably a dog.

          • For more info, you can watch this documentary. [imdb.com]

          • Dogs are actually a feline attempt at genetic engineering that went awry. Created intentionally with a sort of built in Stockholm syndrome, they seem to have developed an overly strong empathy with their captives instead. Their intentionally capped intelligence which was to be useful for the more mundane task of physical security, and possibly to serve as a pack animal, also backfired: they chased anything that moved quickly, including their creators.

            The project was quickly abandoned, unfortunately the pris

    • Here [gawker.com] is another cat hack story, although it seems in this case the cat was only used as a data repository.

  • Apparently Coco the cat:
    "reported back."
    and
    "identified dozens of Wi-Fi networks"

    It seems Coco is doing far more than just walking around carrying the hardware. So, is Coco's performance better or worse than a human doing the same thing?

    • by Jumunquo (2988827)

      Better than the bum but not as good as the undocumented at Home Depot and more expensive than both.

    • by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:52PM (#47643967)

      Cats can wander around without arousing much suspicion. In residential areas, that includes going into front and back yards. In commercial areas, that includes going into secured lots. In that respect, cats would be able to perform better. Of course, that leaves the issue of getting cats to explore areas that you're interested in in the first place.

      • by sir-gold (949031)

        Cats explore everything. They will eventually go where you want if you wait long enough.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        Seems like a high gain directional antenna would be much easier, cheaper and controllable.

        Cats are the most contrary animals on the planet. They figure out what you want them to do, and then do the opposite.

      • Only loosely on-topic, but why is it socially acceptable for many cat owners to simply let them have the run of the neighborhood?

        As a dog owner, I have to keep my dogs strictly controlled, but neighbor's cats will shit all over the place and cause my dogs to go nuts as it flaunts across the front porch.

        Is it just because OMG DOG ATTACKS?

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:40PM (#47643909)

    ... this was the best argument that cats are smarter than dogs. You don't exactly see dogs running around neighbourhoods to hack networks after all.

    Then I realized that this was just another script-kitty.

  • Welcome to 2002.

    • Ah, beat me to it. I was going to ask why the story wasn't about the time machine the cat was sent through.

      • by Alioth (221270)

        Well except in 2002 the hardware that can do this and is small enough and low power enough to attach to a cat didn't exist.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can we please rename war driving to something that better describes what it is? Like fat nerds looking for free wifi?

    • War driving. Two things the usual participants are otherwise entirely unknown to participate in.

      Could've called it Sex Sprinting.

    • by istartedi (132515)

      If wiki [wikipedia.org] is to be believed, you're not going to have much luck. I was aware that "wardriving" came from "wardialing" but didn't know that the "war" part was a War Games reference. TIL (Today I Learned, for those not familiar with Reddit).

  • by PPH (736903) on Sunday August 10, 2014 @06:59PM (#47643991)

    Looks like Timothy is trying to drown his cat.

    • Not the first time a computer geek has used a feline for nefarious purposes. In Japan.

      http://yro.slashdot.org/story/... [slashdot.org]

  • And not allowed to roam and kill songbirds.

    • Mine mostly kills chipmunks when she can be bothered. And we have enough of those for sure. (And I got an easter bunny, right on easter.)
  • This sounds like a modern cyber-warfare version of the Soviet anti-tank dogs or the American bat-bombs.

    If a cat collar can sniff wifi, it can run an automated exploit script too.

    • Saint Bernard's dog, Flipper, Skippy, and a whole menagerie of others.
      (Batman and Spiderwoman were so many fakes.)
      Meanwhile, Coco the Cat seems to want Any Mouse -- at least it's avoiding the camera.

  • WarKitteh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Monday August 11, 2014 @12:24AM (#47645037)
    So "Cat Scan" was too bad of a pun?
  • Why not just throw your laptop in your car and do a few laps around your neighborhood? You could cover the same amount of area in half an hour that took the cat a week. It's not like the cat can get closer to networks than your car can, as most WAPs broadcast far enough to reach the road, not to mention the wifi adapter is more powerful and antenna is bigger on a laptop than on a cat collar contraption.

    I understand that this is more of a proof-of-concept and a cool gadget to rig up, however if this gentle

  • internet + cat = bandwidth mayhem

    It has happened before.

  • I'd be much more interested in what my cat does all day out there. Where does she go? Are there any GPS collars out there? Thought about using a Spot, but their recording intervals are too long (because they signal straight to a satellite). It's too big as well. There are some studies on this. Most (pet) cats don't seem to wander off too far from their reliable source of food. An eagle might be a better vehicle for a war-flying device!
  • by LienRag (1787684)
    I'm already able to destroy my neighbour's living room from across the street using only their cat and a laser-pointer...

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