Cybersecurity incidents can affect many aspects of our lives, including issues related to our pets. A few months ago, Xiaomi, in collaboration with the company Furrytail, launched a crowd funding project consisting of an Internet-connected pet feeder controlled through an app, which was sold on Youpin, Xiaomi’s official store.
Anna Prosvetova, a well-known Russian hacker, claims to have hacked thousands of Furrytail Pet Smart Feeder devices, accessing any data related to its use. The hacker states that it is even possible to manipulate the operation of the device remotely.
According to cybersecurity experts, this device is basically an internet-connected food depot capable of feeding pets when their master is away from home, setting schedules to deliver a previously determined food load. The project had a more than acceptable response in the fundraising process, so it was launched almost immediately and released earlier this year.
Prosvetova, through her Telegram channel (@theyforcedme), claims that she discovered how to hack these devices accidentally: “While studying the feeder API, I discovered some records that run on the screen of any of these devices, as well as data on the WiFi networks of the people who bought them. After a couple of clicks I was able to feed any dog or cat, although it also has a malicious use, as it is possible to delete the schedules programmed by the user, which would leave the pets without food.”
At first she only found 800 of these devices online, although soon after this figure increased to 6, 500, to finish its count in almost 11 thousand feeders. Fortunately, Prosvetova claims that she would be unable to use these devices to negatively impact any cat or dog.
According to cybersecurity experts, this flaw exists because these devices have an ESP8266 driver, which allows the installation of a fake firmware to compromise their security and perform other activities, such as formatting, botnet integration, among others .
The hacker has already reported this flaw to the manufacturers of the smart food dispenser, which announced that a security patch will be added to the app to restrict this access point. As a security measure, International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) specialists recommend users disconnect these devices from the Internet, at least until the company announces that updates are already available.
He is a well-known expert in mobile security and malware analysis. He studied Computer Science at NYU and started working as a cyber security analyst in 2003. He is actively working as an anti-malware expert. He also worked for security companies like Kaspersky Lab. His everyday job includes researching about new malware and cyber security incidents. Also he has deep level of knowledge in mobile security and mobile vulnerabilities.