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Vulnerability found in smart toilets

13 September 2013

Toilet hackedA great and rather unique piece of news for our “madness and information security” section – experts have found a software vulnerability in a line of smart toilets.

The vulnerability was found in Japanese Lixil Satis toilets, but it was discovered by American (not British!) experts from Trustwave SpiderLabs.

Some features of Japanese toilets include music playback, automatic seat lifts, automatic flushing, personal settings and toilet usage statistics.

The equipment is controlled with a special Android application via Bluetooth. The essence of the vulnerability is that the developers used a single PIN code for connecting to the toilets – 0000. The code can be used by anyone to connect to any model of this line of toilets.

To do this, one needs to download the My Satis all from Google Play, install it on the phone and locate a Lixil Satis toilet within the Bluetooth working range.

Japan: employee monitoring using mobile phones

20 January 2011

Japan has always been notorious for the industriousness of its people and the amount of time they spend at their workplaces, as well as ignorance of privacy-related matters both among employers and employees.

Employee monitoring using GPS-enabled mobile devices has been commonly practiced here for years. The technology is used for tracking the location of truck drivers, sales agents and even flight attendants.

This time, KDDI Corporation of Japan suggests using built-in phone accelerometers for more accurate recognition of users’ activities. The system correctly identifies such actions as walking up and down the stairs and room cleaning operations, for example.

The solution can be used practically anywhere. For instance, it can automatically send a notification to a company’s manager that a janitor or loader is having an excessively long break.

Russia is still pursuing the nation-wide integration and acceptance of its own navigation system, GLONASS, although without considerable success. Its developers plan to use it for child, employee, prisoner and vehicle monitoring. Russian mobile carriers have already started offering navigation services allowing companies to track the location of vehicles and employees using satellite navigation devices and mobile phones.

In the meantime, Russian bloggers suggested a rather original method of employee monitoring. To use this method, a company would need to hire a courier equipped with a digital camera, a wireless headset and a 3G-enabled mobile phone.

Once the “video courier” arrives at a construction site, for example, he or she can simply turn the camera on and show the management around the place – directly and without using fancy satellite equipment.