This Is Why Strapping a Wi-Fi Connection to a Sniper Rifle Is a Bad Idea

We have come to a point where we embed a lot of technology to weapons, sometimes even too much technology. This is the case of TrackingPoint, a company that makes such smart weapons. One sniper rifle the company produces is so advanced that it would make anyone a pro-marksman when fired. But, as expected for something this advanced, the gun can be hacked.

A group of hackers found a way to hack the sniper rifle via Wi-Fi. Yes, the gun actually has a Wi-Fi antenna that lets you connect and stream its view to other devices. However, the Wi-Fi is off by default. Turning it on, the hackers proved that adjusting some variables can alter the target, so you might be aiming for something, but eventually hitting an entirely different target in the end.

The hack is also very advanced in a way, being able to tap into the ‘root’ permissions of the gun. This means that a hacker can be granted full access to the gun and even lock the user out of it. However, one truly relieving thing is that the gun cannot be fired remotely, requiring manual trigger fire at all times. Hackers can still remove the safety mechanism, so this is still a bit worrying.

From the looks of it, hacking the gun proves to be a challenge. First of all, the Wi-Fi needs to be on, but since most people use sniper rifles in the wilderness and not in their back yard, the likeliness of it being on is next to zero. Even so, the hacker needs to be next to the gun, so as previously mentioned, hiding in a bush with a laptop is also not practical. It might sound next to impossible to hack it, but the hackers tell that malware can be installed on it, so an attacker can somehow hack it at some point and have it targeting or altering stuff at a certain time and place.

All this makes you wonder, doesn’t it? We previously mentioned about machine guns that can target and decide when to shoot and those most likely have Wi-Fi connectivity as well. Once we get to that point where autonomous guns and military machines become more popular, what would happen if someone were to ‘accidentally’ place a malware on one of their networks? Scary, isn’t it? What are your thoughts? Let us know!

Thank you WIRED for providing us with this information

Bullet-Sized Homing Missiles Undergoing Tests at Darpa

We have seen a lot of advancements in military equipment and devices in recent years, but it seems that there is more to come. The latest news shows that the US military has been testing .50-calibre bullets with in-flight guidance systems, having the ability to turn the projectiles into small homing missiles.

The miniaturized homing missiles are apparently being made by Darpa’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordinance, or EXACTO for short, having them be designed with the ability to adjust their trajectory in-flight in order to hit targets that are not precisely aimed. This means that every bullet can hit any type of target, including moving, high-speed or long-range targets, without the need to compensate with other external factors, such as weather, wind or even elevation in some cases.

“For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavourable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.” say Darpa on their website.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vX8Z2MDYX3g[/youtube]

It is said that the EXACTO system is made up of both the bullet and the guidance system which tracks and delivers the projectile to the target. The bullets themselves are said to be the size of a large pen, having them to fit in both .50-calibre snipers and machine-guns. However, the new tech is still far away from reaching the battlefield. While tests show the first ever projectiles and their results in the field, more tests are said to be required in order to make the new tech ready for the actual battlefield.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ghillies and Stuff and video courtesy of Wired