Of Things Big And Small That Your Toilet Can Do For You

toiletIrresistible is the Nature’s Call. You hear it and you follow it… straight to your bathroom. Depending on how your day progresses against the backdrop of the rest of your life, it may become one of its highlights.

Particularly if you happened to be Japanese. Japanese, I heard, have more intimate relationship with theiir toilets than people of other nations have with theirs. Foreign visitors never cease to be amazed by the tech and thinking that goes behind making that daily function an unforgettable experience… until Nature calls again.

If you are a Japanese, you grab your smartphone and head for the doors of you bathroom. Soft, translucent light (or, if you prefer, a maddening blare of 120 watts strobe-globe), soft, soul-soothing music (or whatever is your preferred sound interference).  You made your personal settings and the sounds of music are coming through the toilet’s speakers.a1

You are a king of your domain. Your throne is one of the most advanced contraptions of this kind in the world that stunned the humankind in the spring of 2013 — a new Satis model toilet, a product of Lixil.

With My Satis Android app, you control the Bluetooth-equipped commode with your phone. Your  usage history  (don’t ask!) is securely stored in My Statis too — your every big, magnificent poop and your every small wee-wee is there, in your  toilet diary.  My Statis monitors your visits to the can, records your achievements on the throne, assigning it a cute euphemistic symbol.

My Stasis

But one day — oh horror of horrors! — your entire world blows up.  Nothing is either predictable or predicated on the setting that you spent hours to set up, selecting options and fine-tuning them just so. Two Separate Nozzles managed to entwine into a macabre twist, Warm Air Drier blows a chilling blizzard up your aaaa…! Posterior Cleansing system is doing… whaaat? Slow-Down Toilet Seat and Lid wiggle under you, trying to hit you repeatedly into the same place Feminine Cleansing is squirting steam, while Occupied Seat Sensor is flashing as though you are in the middle of moon landing!!! Help!

It’s only so many disasters a person can take bare-assed, sitting on the toilet, without looking really ridiculous, before asking  yourself the only question that makes sense, WTF? In Japanese, naturally.

And then you remember the ominous horoscope prediction you read in The Onion the other day? After years of intense searching, you’ ll finally find yourself this week—naked, alone, and with a six foot gash across your forehead? And the yesterday’s: You’ll be trapped in a hell of your own making, forcing you to admit that you really should have put in more bathrooms. Bummer!

And you ask the question. WTF? And this is your answer: It’s all because evildoers can connect to any vulnerable Bluetooth-equipped Android toilet and take it under their control!!!

Trustwave SpiderLabs Security Advisory TWSL2013-020:

Hard-Coded Bluetooth PIN Vulnerability in LIXIL Satis Toilet

The “My Satis” Android application has a hard-coded Bluetooth PIN of “0000”

 As such, any person using the “My Satis” application can control any Satis  toilet, provided that the toilet is in pairing mode. If the toilet is not in pairing mode, it is still possible to pair with the toilet by observing Bluetooth traffic to learn the toilet’s hardware address and pair with the toilet. An attacker can 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…

Now relax. Leave your bathroom quietly and let Lixil and Android take care of the annoying glitch. They are at it as we speak.

Elsewhere, in the Wide World of Thrones:
Kardashian-West’s gold-plated hole in the ground cost close to a million American dollars. The hi-tech specs of this marvel aren’t disclosed to the public, but the Throne of the West isn’t the most ostentatiously expensive one around, hi-tech or not.  The one below is:

The 24k gold bowl is a feature of Hang Fung jeweler’s solid gold bathroom in Hong Kong

The 24k gold bowl is a feature of Hang Fung jeweler’s solid gold bathroom in Hong Kong

Bill Gates flushed some money and ideas into the toilets. A year ago, the Microsoft co-founder handed a $100,000  prize to the California Institute of Technology for its work on a sun-powered toilet stall in hopes  to improve health in the developing world.

Mr. Gates stated that lack of sanitation causes 1.5million children under 5 to die each year, and Western-style toilets are not the answer as they require complex sewer infrastructure and use too much water, since toilet technology has not fundamentally changed from the invention of the flushing toilet in 1775.

Well, rewording the oft-repeated but long-forgotten phrase, it’s  not what your toilet can do for you, it’s what you can do for your toilet…

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