Russia Claims China Bugged Tea Kettles With Freaky WiFi-Exploiting Microchips

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Customs agents found tea kettles and irons bugged with freaky Spyware chips that exploit WiFi connections, reports Rosbalt, the local news outlet out of St. Petersberg.

The chips, the paper claims, can exploit WiFi without passwords at a range of “up to 200 meters” and then “sends some data to the foreign server.”

The Register did some digging and found the story legit. They also surmise the supposed bugging could be pulled off with ease:

We see no reason why not: the components are small and cheap enough. One last wrinkle: could one convert Russia’s 220v electricity supply to power a small electronic device without frying it, and without making an iron or kettle look rather odd? The answer is yes: all manner of tiny PCB transformers can be had to do the job.

The Register’s “one problem” with the story stems from the customs agents’ claim that they found the chips because the shipments were overweight.

“We surmise that whoever made the killer kettles and infiltrated irons cobbled them together with unlovely components that made their presence obvious,” writes Simon Sharwood of The Register.

Well, aside from China’s (cheap) “cobbled together” products (that spy on people), we have one other problem: why spy on regular people.

Unless, of course, they were just a test for a more surreptitious operation to plant such wifi microchips.

Maybe, they’ll do like Russia and hand out thumb drives at the next G20 meeting?

(h/t Adam Clarke Estes of Gizmodo)

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