It Now Appears Possible to Hack a (Fancy, Japanese) Toilet

These are the dangers of putting computers in objects that did not used to have computers.
intergrated_img01.jpg
This bidet plays music, deodorizes, relaxes, and IT CAN BE HACKED. (LAXIL)

O, woe! Beware, you prophets! Beware, you men of ideas, aloft in metropolitan skyscrapers, believing yourself apart, aloof, immune! There are invaders in your home, invaders on your tail, invaders in the last place you would think to look.

For, yesterday, we learned that toilets can be hacked. 

The information security company Trustwave Holdings published an advisory regarding Satis-brand toilets. Satis are a top-of-the-line product of LAXIL, one of Japan's largest commode companies, and they're advertised in the US with the tagline "SATIS defines toilet innovation."

And indeed! How innovative they definitionally are. For not only does the commode sport a broad set of features standard in Nipponese toilets -- deodorizing capabilities, an automatic seat, a two nozzle bidet spray -- but also it can be controlled by an Android app.

A globalized, mobile-ready bidet for the app economy! Thomas Crapper smiles somewhere. The Satis seemed to symbolize a fit of defecation disruption as never before seen, such that Fast Company noted its arrival last December, asking "is [a toilet that can be controlled by a small computer which you sometimes hold next to your mouth] something that U.S. manufacturers should be looking at?"

Well, maybe, but they shouldn't take info-security lessons from Satis. According to Trustwave, every Satis toilet has the same hard-coded Bluetooth PIN, which means "any person using the 'My Satis' [Android] application can control any Satis toilet."

The advisory continues:

As such, any person using the My Satis application can control any Satis
toilet. 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. Attackers could cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user.

Satis' better mousetrap, become a literal trap. Discomfort and distress, the plight of our time. These are the dangers of putting computers in objects that did not used to have computers.

Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Technology

Just In