Beware, connected ikettles can leak WiFi passwords

Pierluigi Paganini October 19, 2015

The Pen Test Partners researcher Ken Munro mapped and hacked connected iKettles across London demonstrating they leak WiFi passwords.

The Pen Test Partners researcher Ken Munro has conducted a very singular experiment, he mapped and hacked connected kettles across London, demonstrating they leak WiFi passwords.

Once again Internet of Things, this experiment demonstrates that poorly configured devices represent a serious threat for security. The device analyzed by the expert is the iKettle, a family of kettles that is possible to control remotely by using a specific smartphone app.

Ken Munro explained that armed with some social engineering data, a directional antenna, and some networking gear is possible to “easily” cause the iKettle to leak users’ WiFi passwords.

Munro demonstrated with its experiment the security and privacy issued related to the current state of internet of things

[IoT security is ]”utterly bananas” said the researcher.

It is curious, but Twitter users can communicate with their iKettles with Twitter. The users tweet about their kettle to @wifikettle, @wifikettle then retweets or reply the messages, this means that in order to locate a kettle to hack the first thing to do is to search through one Twitter account.

ikettle kettles


If the kettle is unconfigured, the attackers can search through the database, WiGLE, or (Wireless Geographic Logging Engine), is a website for collecting information about the wireless hotspots around the world. Users can register for the service and submit information related to a hotspot (GPS coordinates, SSID, MAC address and the encryption type).

Attackers will need to find their own victims using the service, users chatting about their appliances over Twitter, and correlating that data with directories like, Munro provided detailed instruction in a blog post.

ikettle kettles 192 search

At this point, the attackers have all the necessary to find the victim’s house and to hack its network.

“If you haven’t configured the kettle, it’s trivially easy for hackers to find your house and take over your kettle,” Munro says. “Attackers will need to setup a malicious network with the same SSID but with a stronger signal that the iKettle connects to before sending a disassociation packet that will cause the device to drop its wireless link.

“So I can sit outside of your place with a directional antenna, point it at your house, knock your kettle of your access point, it connects to me, I send two commands and it discloses your wireless key in plain text.”

Munro has reported the iKettles in London on Google Maps that he avoided disclosing to prevent illegal activities.

ikettle kettles London map


The researcher explained that reading the manufacturers Twitter feed, he noticed that one can use social networks to find victims with configured iKettles in their houses and discover their WPA PSKs. Once collected the WPA PSKs the attacker can easily compromise the router and run various kinds of attack such as the DNS hijacking.

Such kind of attacks allows attackers to redirect victims to malicious websites to serve a malware, to run sophisticated phishing attacks or sniff its traffic to steal sensitive data.

Beware, connected kettles can leak WiFi passwords!

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  iKittles , hacking)

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