We are shocked. Shocked, we say. Warkitteh turned a household cat into an unwitting hacker’s accomplice. Cats, hacker humor, Wifi security.
Gene Bransfield is a 20 year veteran with IT and cybersecurity credentials. He works as principle system security engineer with Tenacity Solutions and is a pretty sharp dude. He also claims to be a “husband, a father, and a dog owner.” But he admits to not owning a cat yet has no qualms about weaponising one.
So, for a hundreds dollars he build a special collar for a cat called WarKitteh. Apparently, it all started with Bransfield spicing up his presentations with cat pictures because, well, they were boring people to tears, at least the non-technical people.
Insult one to non-technical cat lovers.
After one presentation, someone in his audience comes up to him and lends him a cat tracking collar, a GPS devices that can locate your wandering feline’s location. A truly wonderful device.
According to Bransfield:
Me being the guy I am, I thought, “All you need now is a Wi-Fi sniffing device and you’d have a War Kitteh.” I laughed, and started working on it.
So, taking his wife’s grandmother’s cat, Coco, Bransfield attached an antennae to its collar and let it loose. The Warkitteh collar, as he called it, sniffed out vulnerable neighbourhood Wi-Fi. Of course, this became fodder for an entertaining presentation at this year’s DefCon.
Insult number two to cat people.
Well, Bransfield, an obvious dog person, seems to think it was all good harmless fun. Coco found 23 Wi-Fi hotspots in just over 3 hours with over a third of them unsecured or easily hackable WEP secured sites.
Bransfield has gone on to explain that he thinks that exploiting cats in this way may make people realise that securing their Wi-Fi hotspot is an important thing because cats are more interesting than information security.
They’re cats – everyone loves cats – but you can’t use them as a backdoor into people’s consciousness to get a security message across, surely?