Science News

Toilet Hacking

Thu, 8th Aug 2013

Hannah Critchlow

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Dominic - Now Hannah, I hear toilets have been on your mind this week.Japenese Toilet Control

Hannah - Toilets are always on my mind, Dominic, as they are on everybodyís mind, everybody uses a toilet, every day, I would assume. Now, the Japanese company Lixil have produced a particular toilet called the Satis toilet which is very satisfactory for its customers usually. Now, itís got a range of different applications for this toilet and different kind of modularities. So for example, you can press a button and some nice soothing music will come out as you relax and do your business or you can even use different functionalities. So for example, you can have a deep cleanser or a more relaxing light cleanser in your B-day functionality of your toilet. Now, these Satis toilets actually retail for 3,800 pounds. That's about $5,500 and they're just available in Japan.

Dominic - There's a problem, I gather.

Hannah - There is a problem and this has been reported on the BBC News recently. So, the Japanese love their technology and usually, you can actually automate all of these different music, fragrance releasing and cleansing programmes within your Satis toilet, just using your Smartphone app. So, at a swipe of a button, you can turn certain things on or off as you do your business. Now unfortunately, the pre-programmed security preset for this application is '0000' and the majority of customers havenít changed that preset which means that neighbours have been going in and causing flushing and inspirational water release in the B-day system for their unexpectant neighbours whilst they're sitting on a toilet or doing other business, or anything. So basically, the toilets are being controlled by hackers.

Dominic - Could be quite a surprise at the wrong moment, I guess.

Hannah - Exactly, it could be a surprise at the wrong moment. So, not a great thing. This story is quite entertaining in some ways, but I think what it really highlights is that for example, in telephone hacking, so this has been happening in the last couple of years, there has been journalists that have been able to hack into peopleís telephones. That's for the same reason that there's this preset security code that the majority of people donít change. Itís important that people have high security pass codes for banking for example or telephones and then maybe low security passwords for their toilet facilities. And donít just use your date of birth or something that could be guessed from anyone that gets information on lifestyle questionnaires for example or from your local supermarket, but try to use more complicated and less obvious security pass codes.

Dominic - Weíre all told when weíre picking passwords for computers or pin numbers for the bank that we need a very secure code. How common is it that these systems to be hacked by insecure codes?

Hannah - It really easily can happen to people. This isnít the first time that this particular thing has happened with this kind of preset '0000' security code. So, in the 1960s, apparently, there's been various reports that the USA set the unlock code for their missiles, their nuclear missiles as 4 times zero, in order to prevent slowing down the release of nuclear if they were suddenly attacked. Now fortunately, they werenít hacked. So, this kind of thing can happen and just be careful really.

Dominic - And I guess there's also a responsibility there for companies like banks to make sure that weíre using secure codes. 

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OMB!!! (that's computer talk for 'On my bog'.)

Does this mean you need to take your phone when you want to make a deposit? Is there an app for this? There seems to be an app for just about everything else. Imagin that on the 07.45 from Dartford to London Bridge station, or while at lunch in Pizza Express. Its bad enough as it is with loud numbskulls using their mobile at inappropriate times to tell the old man or the Mrs "I'm just having a tuna & mayo salad lunch." Or "I'm in the pet food aisle at Tesco". Now we're going to have to put up with some twerp phoning their rudy bog!
"Flush at hourly intervals with 'eua de Paris' to get rid of that giant turd I squeezed out this morning."

Of course the real worry will be when the bleeding bog rings you!
Ring ring, ring ring

Hello, Richard III speaking.

G-o-o-d  a-f-t-e-r-n-o-o-n  R-i-c-h-a-r-d, t-h-i-s  i-s  y-o-u-r  b-o-g  s-p-e-a-k-i-n-g.  I  m-u-s-t  r-e-p-o-r-t  t-h-a-t  y-o-u-n-g  J-o-h-n  h-a-s  d-o-n-e  a  h-u-g-e  c-r-a-p  w-h-i-c-h  h-a-s  c-a-u-s-e-d  a  b-l-o-c-k-a-g-e,  n-o-t  t-o  m-e-n-t-i-o-n  a  h-o-r-r-i-f-i-c  s-t-e-n-c-h.

B-u-t  d-o  n-o-t  w-o-r-r-y,  I  h-a-v-e  t-a-u-g-h-t  h-i-m  a  l-e-s-s-o-n  h-e  w-i-l-l  n-o-t  f-o-r-g-e-t  i-n  a  h-u-r-r-y. Don_1, Fri, 16th Aug 2013

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