While hi-tech weapons will no doubt allow us to fight and defend ourselves better, it opens up a door to a myriad of other problems that our ancestors with spears, rocks, and bows & arrows did not have to deal with – being hacked, which is what has happened recently with TargetPoint’s self-targeting sniper rifles.
The hack comes courtesy of two hackers by the name of Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger, a husband and wife team who have managed to hack the sniper rifles and cause them to either not fire or mess with its self-targeting system so that it will never be able to hit its mark, which is no doubt worrying considering that this is a $13,000 piece of weaponry.
According to Sandvik who spoke to WIRED, “You can make it lie constantly to the user so they’ll always miss their shot. 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.” In fact the hack can even disable the firing pin of the gun which is a computer controlled solenoid, something that most gun owners usually don’t have to worry about.
However if there is one thing we can be thankful for is that the hack can’t make the gun fire by itself, since this will actually require the user to pull the trigger. Both Sandvik and Auger have been trying to get in touch with the folks at TrackingPoint ever since they discovered the vulnerabilities, but have yet to hear back from them.