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WarKitteh: This Cat is Weaponized for Electronic Warfare

Cats are usually up to no good, but now they can do more than turn up flower beds. This one scans for unsecured wireless networks.
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The cats stalking about your neighborhood have always looked like they were up to no good, but now they can do more than turn up your flower beds and antagonize your dog. Security engineer and hacker Gene Bransfield has equipped a cat with a Wi-Fi sniffing device that can detect when wireless networks are vulnerable to attack. In a talk at security conference DefCon, he called the enhanced collar "WarKitteh," a combination of Internet slang for kitties and the old hacker practice of "wardriving," essentially cruising through town looking for unsecured wireless access points.

With a WarKitteh on, any cat can stake out its neighborhood simply by doing its cat thing. The collar detects nearby networks and checks whether they're using outdated security settings. Bransfield, who tested the system on a relative's cat, told Wired he was surprised at its success: a third of the two dozen wireless networks the cat scanned were vulnerable. Afraid a nearby cat will expose your shabby security practice? Set your router to use the latest encryption method, WPA2, and the WarKittehs of the world will leave you in peace.



— Devin Coldewey, NBC News