A security boffin has created a 'WarKitteh' capable of sniffing Wi-Fi packets.
Tenacity evil genius researcher Gene Bransfield (@gbransfield) combined a series of garden-variety technologies to evolve the humble house cat into a walking, purring WiFi war machine capable of pawing packets while maintaining enough agility to fight off neighbourhood strays to scale the backyard fence home for dinner.
Bransfield insisted he was not struck by feline fever and explained his research field choice was due to the animals' online omnipotence (15 percent of the world's internet traffic is dedicated to cats) and the potential for surreptitious packet slurping.
"Somebody was going to give me this cat collar that had a GPS chip and a cellular component on it which would track where your cat has been, and if you were nervous about where the cat is, you could text the collar and it would reply with the GPS coordinates," Bransfield said.
"And me being the guy I am I said 'well sh*t all we need is a little WiFi sniffer and we've got a war kitteh!'"
Bransfield acquired and deployed the first of a line of proof of concept war cats from a fellow hacker, outfitting the creature with a snug coat carrying an Android phone loaded with WiFi sniffing kit.
The jacket, originally built for canines was lost in the line of duty after the animal slipped out of it. The phone was stolen from its last known GPS location.
But Bransfield's research would be scaled up; for the upcoming Defcon 22 conference in Las Vegas he is now evaluating smaller and more reliable Arduino-based devices which could be deployed on feline collars using small GPS device-holders made by Garmin.
His research, currently limited to sniffing wireless SSIDs and packets for analysis, could become more offensive with the addition of TV-B-Gone adaptors capable of knocking out television broadcasts and OsmocommBB software which can intercept and black out mobile phone networks.
"I figured the TV-B-Gone would be great to work around Super Bowl time."
Those attending Defcon will also bear witness to the Denial of Service Dog, a fusion between canine and auditing tool WiFi Pineapple.
It is unknown whether Bransfield plans to turn America's 80 million dogs and 96 million cats into his purr-sonal electronic army. Let's hope his bark is worse than his bite. ®