The maker of a new gadget claims it can knock any unwanted device off a local network. But Julian Oliver concedes that some features of Cyborg Unplug may be illegal depending on your location.
Oliver previously developed a web script named glasshole.sh that is specifically designed for finding and blocking Google Glass connections on a local network. He’s now expanded on that to a full blown hardware device.
It’s not a wireless jammer as such. Instead users set Cyborg Unplug to search for specific categories of hardware device, then issue a “deauthentication packet” targeted at that category, cutting off any data streaming. The type of device is detected by the hardware signature assigned by the manufacturer, though this won’t necessarily work on rooted devices.
The official marketing line is that the device is designed to tackle unwanted monitoring by “Google Glass, Dropcam, small drones/copters, wireless ‘spy’ microphones and various other network-dependent surveillance devices”. Of course, it doesn’t stop the operation of those devices; it simply means the operators will need to find a different network or fall back on cellular data.
The plan is to offer two models, one at $50 and one at $100. The more expensive model will include LED and audio alarms when a banned device is detected, with the user also able to get an electronic message such as an e-mail or text.
The big controversy comes with the fact that Cyborg Unplug has two modes. Territory mode is the standard option allowing you to control devices accessing your own network. All Out mode will issue a disconnect notice to all devices in a category that are within range, regardless of which network or networks they are connected to.
Oliver and company note that using this mode will be illegal in some places and that they take no responsibility for its use. It’s hard to see any uses for this mode that isn’t at best disruptive and at worst malicious.