August 5, 2013
Hacking Your Toilet: There’s An App For That!
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The last thing you want to have happen while you're doing business in the bathroom is to have a hacker interfere with your smart toilet. According to a report from information security company Trustwave Holdings, the Android app used to control a Satis-brand toilet can be hacked to give anyone who has the app access to any Satis toilet.
The My Satis app is not only used to keep a "defecation record" of the owner, but also to control certain elements of the toilet, such as an automatic toilet seat, a power deodorizer, automatic flushing, cleansing nozzles, built-in lighting and an embedded speaker for music. A hacker could raise or lower the lid, continually flush the toilet, or even kick on the built-in bidet, causing what Trustwave's report calls "discomfort or distress to the user." The Japanese-made Satis toilets, which retail at upwards of $5,686, pair with the Android-only app via bluetooth, meaning a prankster would have to be within normal operating range to control the fancy toilet.
According to Trustwave's report, the issue with the My Satis app is the Bluetooth PIN used to connect the toilet and the app. Apparently, each Satis toilet is hard-coded with the easy-to-crack default PIN of "0000." Unfortunately this number cannot be changed, meaning anyone with a Samsung Galaxy SII, Galaxy SIII, Galaxy Note or any other Android phone can download the My Satis app from the Google Play app store and inflict "discomfort."
"An attacker could simply download the 'My Satis' application and use it to cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner," reads the Trustwave report.
For users, this flaw seems more annoying than dangerous, and more of an oversight on the part of the company than some sort of gross negligence of security, according to Sophos security expert, Graham Cluely.
"It's easy to see how a practical joker might be able to trick his neighbors into thinking his toilet is possessed as it squirts water and blows warm air unexpectedly on their intended victim, but it's hard to imagine how serious hardened cybercriminals would be interested in this security hole," said Cluely in a statement to BBC News.
"Although this vulnerability seems largely harmless, what's clear is that companies building household appliances need to have security in mind just as much as computer manufacturers."
And with a retail price upwards of five thousand dollars for premium models, it's likely this hack-prank will only be used against a handful of Satis users.
So what does a five thousand dollar toilet look like?
The Satis, built by Japanese toilet company LIXIL features the aforementioned automatic lid, flushing and bidet for both the posterior and feminine hygiene. The Satis website also mentions the bidet's massaging feature which provides both a strong, firm spray or a milder stream for those with more sensitive parts.
As the owner begins to use the toilet, a deodorizing system is kicked in to stop unpleasant odors before they begin. This process is continued through the automatic flushing step. Once the owner steps away from the toilet, the deodorizer stops and engages the air purifier, which sends air-cleansing ions into the bathroom. The lid also closes and cleans automatically to keep the bowl smelling pleasant and clean.
LIXIL also boasts "Relaxation Functions," including a soft light which illuminates the inside and outside of the bowl. The toilet even plays music when being used.