Researchers Hack Linux-Powered, Self-Aiming Smart Rifle, Causing It To Change Targets

Remember when getting hacked meant loss of control of your PC and/or stolen data? It could be embarrassing, sure, and you could even be fired if a weak password contributed to the theft of sensitive company information. However, more recent hacks of shown a frightening trend towards causing physical harm.

Earlier this month, security researchers demonstrated the ability to remotely hijack virtually all controls in a Jeep Cherokee, including steering and braking. And now we're finding out that hackers can disable or change the target of a computer-aided sniper rifle. Scary times we live in, folks.

TrackingPoint HUD

Security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger developed techniques to hack TrackingPoint's self-aiming rifles through their Wi-Fi connections. Once inside, their methods allow an attacker to stop the rifle from firing, miss a target, or change the target to one of their choosing.

These are Linux-powered rifles with high-tech self-aiming systems built into them. Things like wind, temperature, and even the weight of the bullet are all factored in when aiming at a target. When the trigger is pulled, the rifle then calculates the precise time to activate the firing pin, allowing even inexperienced shooters to consistent hit targets even a mile away.

TrackingPoint Rifle

The Wi-Fi on these rifles is disabled by default, though should the user turn it on in order to stream video, a hacker can break in and wreak havoc. In a demonstration provided to Wired, the researchers showed their hack altering a rifle so that it would hit a bulls eye that was 2.5 feet away from the originally intended target.

TrackingPoint is aware of the research and said it's working patch the rifle's vulnerabilities.
Tags:  Linux, security, Hacking