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Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Bathroom Attack of the 'Apless Apps

We live in a time where NSA and PRISM, the Internet of Things and Mobile Apps dominate online and off-line chatter.

Sometimes convergence of these technologies can come together in the most unexpected of ways leaving the user wondering why more robust user testing wasn't in place before release.  And in the context of this article I use the term "release" advisedly!

Those of you who have ever stayed in a Japanese hotel will know that the toilets are high tech with a series of buttons designed for an internal car wash, post purge.

The Satis Smart Design boasts the most sophisticated of toilet innovation according to its manufacturers Laxil, one of Japan's biggest toilet companies.  It's mouth-like lid opens automatically to greet you as you draw nigh and when you step away the toilet flushes automatically.

There is now even a free Android app with a hard-wired Bluetooth code available which means you can operate the Satis remotely, all of which sounds fine in theory.  There is however one fatal flaw that the manufacturers have failed to realise in their rush for innovation - their high tech toilet can be hacked.

IT security firm Trustwave has issued a Bluetooth security vulnerability warning that the app could be hacked. Trustwave issued an advisory that a pin for the Bluetooth app is set at '0000' and can therefore be used by anyone - even remotely. In short, anyone with the 'My Satis' app can control any Satis toilet.

Trustwave advisory
While it remains to be see if bidet hacking will become as popular as gangam style dancing, the temptation for pranksters is obvious. Facing a cyber attack in the bathroom from an out of control two-nozzle bidet spray could have dire consequences.

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