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Man uses his cat to map which neighbors have Wi-Fi networks he can easily hack

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Sniffing out open or weakly protected networks with a little help from his pet

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Security researcher Gene Bransfield has figured out a fun way to map the vunerable Wi-Fi networks in his neighborhood. As reported in Wired, he outfitted his cat Coco with a specially-made collar built from a Wi-Fi card, GPS module, battery, and a Spark Core chip. The device runs custom software that looks for Wi-Fi signals and records ones that are open or poorly protected with old encryption like WEP, which can be easily broken.

This is an update on the concept of Wardriving, where hackers would cruise around in a car with a laptop, looking for open or unsecure networks. The WarKitteh collar, as Bransfield has dubbed it, isn't meant to be a serious hacking tool, more of a joke to see what's possible. Still, he says, "I put some technology on a cat and let it roam around because the idea amused me. But the result of this cat research was that there were a lot more open and WEP-encrypted hot spots out there than there should be in 2014."