WiFi-Enabled Sniper Rifles Can be Remotely Hacked to Change Target or Disable Gun

New high-tech Sniper Rifles can be remotely hacked to shoot the wrong target or disable to weapon entirely, a new era of gun hacking that we’ve never experienced is unraveling before our eyes.

Yep, that’s right, hackers can remotely gain access to the $13,000 TrackingPoint sniper rifle that runs Linux and Android on the back end operating system with built in Wifi connections. Allowing hackers the ability to disable or point the gun and have it fire at the wrong target.

A duo of married security researches have proved that anything can be hacked, whether its a computer, car, artificial organ or now GUN!

According to the couple, the Tracking Point self-aiming rifle sights, also known as the ShotView targeting, is vulnerable to attacks via Wifi that could allow an attacker to redirect targets to their choice.

Runa Sandvik and her husband Michael Auger plan to present their findings on the five figure rifle at the this week’s Black Hat conference.

During the live demonstration with Wired, Sandvik and Auger demonstrate how its possible to:

  • Brick the rife, leaving the computer-based targeting system permanently unusable.
  • Gain root access to the rifle’s targeting system to make permanent changes to the firearm.

The couple were able to break into the Wifi-connected rifle and disable the gun entirely, however changing the weapons target is far more alarming.

“You can make it lie constantly to the user so they’ll always miss their shot,” said Sandvik, a former developer of the Tor anonymity software. “If the scope is bricked, you have a six to seven thousand dollar computer you can’t use on top of a rifle that you still have to aim yourself.”

Even though gun hacking does sound terrifying, there are a couple minor setbacks:

  • No attack on the rifle can make the weapon fire as the rifle pin is controlled by a mechanism inside that requires the trigger to be physically pulled.
  • Only around 1,000 vulnerable rifles are in public circulation

The married security researchers released a video demonstration in which the two were able to hack into the scopes targeting system and alter it so precisely that they could cause the rifle’s bullet to hit the attackers bullseye target, redirecting from the shooters original target.

Texas-based TrackingPoint is known for developing high-tech self-aiming rifles that can improve shooters overall ability and even aid users with no experience.

John McHale, the company’s founder said they are working with Sandvick and Auger to develop a software update to patch the glaring vulnerability.

As we move towards a more network connected world, all types of technology will become vulnerable to attack. Just last week, Chrysler has to recall some 1.4 million cars due to a vulnerability that security researchers exploited, allowing them to cut the brakes, gas and steering on the network-connected vehicle.

The reality of hacking will only continue further the longer we continue to make all devices network connected.

[Photo via Luhai Wong/Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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