Cats are awesome; that is something we've come to understand due to the amount of cat videos available on the Internet. However, security engineer Gene Bransfield is making cats even more awesome by transforming them into WarKitteh, cats that are capable of scouting for Wi-Fi hackers.
How is this done? Well, Bransfield used something he calls Smart Collar. It's basically a cat collar with a Spark Core board inside that is capable of mapping wireless networks, any vulnerability relating to these networks. It can only map networks that are within the vicinity the cat wanders, and that should be enough especially if the cat wanders the neighbors backyard a lot.
Now, by tagging a cat with the Smart Collar and mapping out Wi-Fi networks in the area, a person could figure out which network is unsecure, and which network is using a broken and old form of wireless encryption.
The cat in question that was used for this test is called Coco. By the time Coco was done roaming around the neighborhood, the cat had managed to bring home a dead mouse along with all the information about vulnerable Wi-Fi networks situated in the Smart Collar.
If Bransfield wanted to, he could have taken advantage of these vulnerabilities by hacking his neighbor's Wi-Fi networks and cause them a world of pain. But alas, this was just an experiment; one that proves to be very successful.
Bransfield plans to debut his creation, which only cost him $100, at the DefCon hacker conference in Las Vegas. His creation could turn any outdoor cat into a Wi-Fi hacker's accomplice, and no one would be the wiser.
As of now, the title of Bransfield planned talk at DefCon is called "How To Weaponize Your Pets." However, he claims that WarKitteh should not be viewed as a security threat, but how long before someone uses this idea for evil? Will there be a WarPuppy of some sorts? OK, that wasn't funny.
It's pretty interesting what Bransfield has come up with, but it could also turn out to be a danger to cats. If some folks should ever catch wind that hacking Wi-Fi could be done with the help of a kitteh, then it would give them more reason to hurt these wonderful animals. Let's hope things will never come to this, or we may just have to call forth the WarDogs.