A husband and wife team spend a year trying to hack a $13,000 internet-connected sniper rifle with worrying results.
Wi-Fi connected sniper rifles which can auto-target can be hacked and disabled – or even choose a new target.
The upcoming Black Hat hacking conference will hear how Runa Sandvik and her husband Michael Auger hacked TrackingPoint rifles which run Linux and Android.
The $13,000 (£8,325) weapons took a year to crack, and the implications are serious.
The rifle can be ‘bricked’ and made unusable, or, more seriously, root access to the targeting system can be gained to make permanent changes to it.
But the hack has one limitation – it cannot force the weapon to fire without someone pulling the trigger.
Wired magazine reported that Ms Sandvik and Mr Auger demonstrated their exploit by causing bullets to miss a shooter’s target, and instead hit a different one.
Ms Sandvik said: “You can make it lie constantly to the user so they’ll always miss their shot.”
They say they have reported the exploit to the gun’s creators on several occasions but have not heard anything back.
The company has laid off many of its staff and is no longer shipping rifles, but around 1,000 are currently in circulation.
The hack relies on compromising the Wi-Fi connection that the gun features.
In a statement to Wired, TrackingPoint said a patch would be released, adding: “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.”