"War Kitteh" Collar Turns Your Cat Into A Sneaky, Sly Internet Hacker

The next time you see a cat strolling across your driveway, you might want to double-check your Wi-FI passwords. In July, a Siamese cat named Coco unknowingly mapped out his neighborhood’s unprotected Wi-Fi networks as he roamed through the Washington D.C. suburb. In the span of three hours, Coco found 23 Wi-Fi hotspots, nearly one-third of which were unprotected or weak.

Don’t give the cat too much credit, though. His owner, Nancy, helped out with his undercover mission by fitting his collar with “custom-coded firmware, a Wi-Fi chip, a tiny GPS module, and a battery,” everything a cat could need to sniff out the area’s most vulnerable Wi-Fi networks. Security researcher — and Nancy’s grandson-in-law — Gene Bransfield came up with the idea for the collar, which he debuted under the name “WarKitteh” at a recent DefCon Hacking Conference in Las Vegas.

While “wardriving,” or fitting a car with a special antenna that can detect unprotected Wi-Fi networks, has existed since the 1980s, using a household pet to do the job takes the sneaky practice to a whole new level. Bransfield claims that he started the WarKitteh project to make people more aware of why it’s important to protect your Wi-Fi network. He got the idea somewhere along the way that involving cats in the project might make less tech-savvy people pay attention, because everybody loves a good cat story.

Here are some other interesting gadgets that allow pets to break into the tech world...

The Cat@Log

This new device plans to combine a GPS, digital camera, Wi-Fi, and acceleration sensor to send live Twitter updates about what your cat is up to.

The Bowlingual Dog Translator

This gadget claims it can translate dog barks into one of six emotional states: “happy, sad, frustrated, threatening, needy or assertive.”

The Passport Pet Door

This one takes the doggy door to the next level by only allowing animals with pre-programmed identification chips in their collars to enter and exit through the door, keeping out any unwanted raccoons or possums that might try to sneak in. You can also program the door to only open at certain times of day, if you need to regulate your pet’s bathroom trips and play time while you’re away.

The Pet’s Eye View Digital Camera

Going with the recent trend of odd camera devices, this camera device clips easily onto your pet’s collar and lets them document the world from their perspective. You can set the camera to snap a picture every one, five, or fifteen minutes, depending on how exciting you possibly think your pet’s daily lives could be.

Images: Tumblr/Caterville, Tumblr/Alxbngala, Tumblr/HilariousGifsLol, Tumblr/Kath-Story