View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
August 11, 2014

How a smart collar can hack into vulnerable Wi-Fi networks

Cat identifies four routers using broken encryption and another four that had no encryption at all.


A smart cat collar has detected security failings in dozens of vulnerable Wi-Fi networks that can be accessed with ease.

At this year’s Def Con 22 Hacking Conference in Las Vegas, Gene Bransfield, a security engineer at Tenacity Solutions, explained how he fitted a cat with a digital collar that carries a Spark Core computer chip running on custom-coded firmware.

"The collar contained a GPS device and a cellular component and would track your cats movements throughout the neighbourhood," Bransfield explained on the Def Con website.

Bransfield dubbed the experiment ‘WarKitteh’, a method that involves scouring multiple networks to see how secure they are.

He first tested his $100 collar on a Siamese cat named Coco. After three hours of roaming the neighbourhood, the cat returned with information that revealed four Wi-Fi routers had no security encryption, while another four were using an outdated security system.

Bransfield also told Wired that the concept came to him after he came across a special cat collar with a cellular component and a GPS device that tracked the cat’s movements.

Content from our partners
Why enterprises of all sizes must  embrace smart manufacturing solutions
European Technology Leadership: Deutsche Bank CTO Gordon Mackechnie
Print’s role in driving the environmental agenda

"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."

He added that he hopes the experiment will increase the public’s awareness about Wi-Fi security and inform people they should secure their Internet networks.

Websites in our network
NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy