Almost anything with an integrated computer can be hackedincluding a smart sniper rifle.
Married security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger spent a year hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles.
During next week’s Black Hat convention in Las Vegas, the couple will show off techniques that allow an attacker to take control of the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection.
A computer-assisted, self-aiming long-range rifle, the TP750 boasts a targeting system that can turn any novice into a trained sniper. Just tap a few buttons and pull the trigger, then wait as the gun barrel automatically lines up with the target and fires.
For the tech-savvy sniper, TrackingPoint rifles connect via Wi-Fi to a nearby computer to stream video from the scope, and let the user change settings like wind speed, temperature, and ammunition weight.
But, as Wired reported, Sandvik and Auger identified how to remotely alter the scope’s calculations, making the rifle miss its pre-set target, or prevent the gun from firing at all.
By hacking into the system and connecting directly to the rifle’s built-in computer, the couple could change values, “but in such a way that it doesn’t show up on the screen,” Sandvik said in the video above.
“We found that we could make the shooter miss the shot, either by just a tiny bit, or completely off, to the point of hitting the target that’s next to the one the shooter is aiming for,” she added.
TrackingPoint did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment. Founder John McHale, however, told Wired that he appreciates the research, and the company will work with Sandvik and Auger to patch the software vulnerability. The update will be mailed to customers as a USB drive.
Still, McHale believes that guns don’t kill people, people (possibly hackers) kill people.
“It’s my responsibility to make sure my scope is pointed where my gun is pointing,” he told the tech site. “The fundamentals of shooting don’t change even if the gun is hacked.”
Let’s just hope that gun is not attached to a drone.
But what happens when that gun makes an unwanted appearance in your home? Or is discovered by your kids? NanoWatt Design is crowdfunding the GunDetect camera, which uses computer-vision processing to, well, detect guns.
Whether you’re preparing against home invasions or protecting your own firearms, the table-top camera will alert you via text message if it spots a weapon. Available in two modelscloud-based or self-containedthe GunDetect hopes to meet its $200,000 goal by Aug. 20.