Hackers Take Remote Control of Hi-Tech Rifle Via Wi-Fi

© AP Photo / Alexander ZemlianichenkoView through a sniper's rifle
View through a sniper's rifle - Sputnik International
Two US security researchers have proved the simple axiom that any gadget connected to the World Wide Web can be hacked. They broke down a Wi-Fi-connected rifle’s security system, remotely changing weapon’s targets and ultimately disabling it.

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Security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger took control of the software of a Tracking Point TP750 sniper rifle using a small laptop with Wi-Fi connection.

The hackers found gaps in the weapon’s security system which allow someone to gain remote access the self-aiming feature and change the trajectory of a bullet, change the weapon’s target and even prevent the weapon from firing.

Sanvik and Auger said it’s possible to lock the gun’s operator out of the rifle’s operating system with a PIN change (Tracking Point provides every gun with a PIN code system,) and even erase the whole self-aiming application, rendering the $13,000 rifle useless.

“You can make it lie constantly to the user so they’ll always miss their shot,” Sandvik, a former developer for anonymity software, told Wired.

The experts noted the gun would never start firing by itself unless the trigger is manually pulled.

Moreover, Tracking Point founder John McHale claimed that, in practice, it would be difficult to hack guns, as they are usually used in places which are far from any network.

“It’s highly unlikely when a hunter is on a ranch in Texas, or on the plains of the Serengeti in Africa, that there’s a Wi-Fi internet connection. The probability of someone hiding nearby in the bush in Tanzania is very low.”

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The hackers responded to McHale by saying that the possibility exists that someone could download malicious software to the rifle’s system, which is capable of breaking the gun down.

Texas-based Tracking Point created the high-tech rifles to improve shooters’ productivity, helping even inexperienced users avoid overshoots. The gun owner merely needs to choose parameters like wind direction and temperature, determine the target and pull the trigger, and then the rifle operating system fires, choosing the best moment.

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