An engineer has told a hacking conference how he turned a cat and a dog into tech weapons: the former to make a point and the latter for a prank.
Gene Bransfield of Tenacity Solutions discussed his work at the DEFCON event and then followed up with an interview with the Guardian. His first project, War Kitteh, involved using a tiny Arduino-based development board that he attached to a cat’s collar.
The board included an SD card, GPS tracker and Wi-Fi receiver. Bransfield then sent the cat off to roam around the neighborhood searching for unprotected wireless networks, the theory being it was agile enough (and unlikely to be challenged as a trespasser) to do a better job than a pedestrian or driver.
In one trip, the cat logged 23 different networks, of which 15 were secured with WPA-2, four had WEP passwords and four were unsecured.
Meanwhile Denial of Service Dog wore a saddlebag carrying a bulkier wireless hacking kit and a device for spoofing remote control signals to turn off televisions. Bransfield sent the dog off into bars during World Cup soccer games, switched off the sets, and awaited the reaction.
In the interest of canine and human safety he chose note to pull the prank during USA games. As it happened, not only was neither man nor dog in any danger, but the various bar patrons and staff clearly found the dog so cute that they apparently didn’t make the connection between the saddlebag’s “Denial Of Service Dog” label and the TV problems.
Bransfield says he carried out the stunts as a way to get the attention of people who don’t normally think about security issues.
The DEFCON talk follows a talk Branshaw gave earlier this year on earlier versions of the animal stunts: (Warning: Poor quality audio.)