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Hackers Find a Way to Remotely Switch a ‘Smart’ Sniper Rifle’s Target

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After uncovering vulnerabilities in a sniper rifle, two hackers have developed an exploit which can take control of the ‘smart’ sniper rifle and change the intended target by hacking it remotely.

Security researchers have discovered a way to remotely hack into a self-aiming ‘smart’ rifle by exploiting its vulnerabilities in its Linux-powered software, in a report published by Wired.

Researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger, a married hacker couple have developed and devised the exploit for over a year after working on a pair of self-aiming rifles manufactured by TrackingPoint which retails for $13,000 each.

‘Smart’ Weapons

Smart rifles are advanced sniper rifles modified with computers and a camera that’s attached to the weapon. Data is communicated back and forth between devices including Android smartphones and tablets and the whole mechanism is geared to help hunters, who are the targeted market for such weapons. The ‘smart’ features help novice marksmen to accurately hit targets half a mile away.

Essentially, the rifle along with cameras, custom Linux software and embedded sensors come together to become a ‘smart weapon.’

Here’s how a smart rifle works:

  • The rifle is always hooked onto a Wi-Fi connection. Data is transmitted to a computer to stream and record video that’s recorded from the camera on the rifle. The camera records the image being seen by the shooter when looking into the sniper’s scope.
  • Accuracy is greatly improved with advanced algorithms that are constantly being worked on by the Linux system which helps to get a fix on the target.
  • The fix or ‘lock’ occurs after important variables are determined in real-time. They include temperature, wind speed, bullet weight and the distance to the target.
  • With the help of a button (not to be mistaken with the trigger), a crosshair is computed and determined by the computerized scope on the rifle. This helps the shooter in finding his targets accurately.

This video shows how a smart sniper rifle works:

Hacking a ‘Smart’ Weapon

The hacker duo have found a way to exploit the vulnerabilities inherent in the design and software development of the rifle. The process in developing an exploit to hack the weapon started when the couple noticed a TrackingPoint booth at a Gun Show last year.

“We were reading their marketing material that said you could connect it to your phone,” Sandvik said. “That’s when I suggested we buy one and hack it.”

After purchasing two lower-end precision-guided .308 model rifles, Auger dismantled the scope to study the hardware. Two vulnerabilities were immediately discovered.

  • Both rifles had a built-in network password by default. They quickly found out it got worse, the password couldn’t be changed.
  • Contrary to the common notion that the computerized rifle only listens to the actual weapon-holder, it is in-fact constantly listening for instructions remotely, over Wi-Fi. They realized then that hackers would have a field day with such a weapon.

By changing a single number in the rifle’s on board software, a bullet shot missed a target by 2.5 feet to the left, taking out a completely different target altogether.

The duo demonstrated their hack to Wired in a video here.

The two hackers intend to present the results and further detail the vulnerabilities discovered at the Black Hat hacker conference that’s scheduled in two weeks.

Image from Youtube.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.




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  1. McDonough

    July 31, 2015 at 1:23 am

    First, take a sight assisted rifle in which “the whole mechanism is geared to help hunters” and call it a “smart sniper rifle”.
    Then, quite cleverly (the hack), alter the dope in the target acquisition mechanism thereby shifting the point of impact by a given distance.
    Finally, when fired, the bullet impacts 2.5 feet askew, “taking out a completely different target altogether”. Wow, are they sure the completely different target was not the deer’s ass? 2.5 feet away from the best place to shoot a deer, elk, moose is the animal’s rear end. Oh, My bad! The other direction! So with the deer’s head extending ~ a foot beyond where it should be shot, and with the head of the “completely different target” doing the same… the deer must have been kissing!
    Seriously though, this information is highly valuable and will ensure tightened security but the blatant firearm bias agenda needs to be “taken out completely” from valid knowledge based pursuits. To not do so is a distraction.

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Altcoins

Monero Price Analysis: XMR/USD Slips Below Crucial Daily Support Ahead of System Update

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  • Monero’s navitve token XMR is forced to breach a key area of support by the market bears.
  • XMR/USD was being support by an ascending trend line, running from 14th August.
  • The Monero foundation is scheduled for a routine network upgrade.

Monero Network Update

The Monero foundation is scheduled to update its network on 18th October, as a result this will be bringing a new hard fork to its token. They have been making it a routine process now, hard forking every six months. Their focus being on the likes of increased ring-size for more privacy, with large transactions and tweaking their proof of work algorithm.

In terms of this upgrade, the goal is to enhance efficiency and make some adjustments to the current proof of work algorithm. Ultimately, to make it resistant and curb the threat of ASIC mining. Developers at Monero will be implementing the new Bulletproofs protocol. This will see greater privacy, lower fees and faster verification. It will reduce transaction size by an estimated 80%.

Technical Review – Daily Chart

XMR/USD daily chart

XMR/USD slipped out to the downside from an ascending trend line. As a result, the market bears managed to push for a breach and daily close below on 7th October. The support had been running since 14th August, where the price hit a low of $76.739.  A retest has been seen and pressure is now gradually mounting on Monero’s XMR. In terms of support, the 50DMA has provided some initial comfort for now. Furthermore, the next major downside support is observed in a chunky demand area. This is seen tracking from $86 down to $76. Resistance will now be eyed at $116.550 area, underneath the breached ascending trend line. In proximity to the 100DMA, which may cause some difficulty for the bulls. Elsewhere, further to the north, resistance can be seen within the $125.000 territory. Finally, heavy supply is tracking from $140 up to $150.

Technical Review – 4-hour Chart

XMR/USD 4-hour chart

Despite the above-mentioned daily breakout from the supporting trend line, there is still some hope for XMR/USD in the near-term, because from looking at the 4-hour chart view, the price has been moving within a range-bound block. This narrowing area has been running since 26th September. Fortunately for the price, a fresh wave of selling pressure has been prevented for now.  The lower part of the mentioned range has proven to see some near-term support. Therefore, the protection has been observed from around $112 to the high $111 territory. Although, a breach of this area could see a fast fall back down to sub $100, last traded below here on 12th September. While further downside pressure could force a retreat back down to a firm demand zone. Eyes would be on $86-77 range for buying.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 33 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Altcoins

Monero Price Analysis: XMR/USD Bulls Cooking Up Big Potential Moves

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  • XMR/USD price action surprisingly this week has been generally muted.
  • Current price behavior looks more favorable to see upside surprises, rather than any heavy selling pressure.

The Monero price this trading week has been somewhat muted. This comes as quite a surprise given the recent updates from the foundation. The foundation introduced the Maleware Workgroup, a huge step in efforts to protect the Monero community. Elsewhere, the foundation was also finally able to patch the ongoing ‘burning bug’ issue, which was proving to be a big problem. Full details of both developments posted in previous Monero article.

Near-term Analysis (60-Minute Chart)

XMR/USD 60-minute chart

Looking at the 60-minute chart for XMR/USD, it is very much clear to see how tight the trading range is. The vast majority of price action, aside from a couple of spikes here and there, has been swinging between $117 down to $111. This behavior has been observed since the bull run seen on 19th September, which was then paired after 23rd September fall.

Daily Chart View

XMR/USD daily chart

Price action is being supported by an ascending trend line on the daily chart. This has been running from 13th August, proving its strength. XMR/USD is currently stuck in between the 100DMA ($116.795), which is seen above, and the 50DMA ($110.877) below.  The price has seen a bounce on several occasions in September, off the trend line.

Next Move for Monero

The above-mentioned tracking ascending trend line is going to be vital in Monero’s recovery. Market bulls will need comfort, in case of another failed break down of above chunky supply area. This is seen tracking from $140-$150. There were several occasions in July and one in September, where the bulls failed to break this down. On each time the price has come into contact with this territory, it has been hit pretty hard by the sellers.

XMR/USD daily view

A breakout to the upside from the mentioned supply, could see a fast move towards $170, where some resistance can be seen. The price most recently found difficulty within this area at the early part of June. Enough bullish momentum should see it clear this territory, with $200 being reclaimed to the upside. XMR/USD was last trading above $200 back on 21st May.

Looking to the downside, a breach in the ascending trend line to the downside, could be catastrophic. Sellers would likely pile in with a high amount of volatility, sending the price down to sub-$100. The next chunky demand area is seen down within the $90-75 range. XMR/USD traded within this zone on 14th August, where the market managed receive a firm bounce.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 33 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Bitcoin

Bitcoin Network Faced One-Two Punch of Inflation and DoS Threats

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Bitcoin Core has emerged seemingly unscathed from a major vulnerability that threatened to shut down parts of the network in a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. But apparently, the bug was even worse than originally thought. According to a Bitcoin Core Full Disclosure Report, the issue included an “inflation vulnerability,” one in which if seized upon could have bolstered the supply of bitcoin beyond the famous 21 million coin ceiling. By pouring more coins into the supply, the hackers would have diminished the value of the circulating bitcoins.

The decision to expose only the lesser extreme part of the bug to the public was deliberate. According to the report:

“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade. On September 20th a post in a public forum reported the full impact and although it was quickly retracted the claim was further circulated.”

Double-Edged Sword

The strategy was a success and the bug is no longer a threat, as evidenced by more than 50% of the bitcoin mining hashrate having been upgraded to the patched nodes with no known attempts to “exploit this vulnerability.”

Here’s what we know, according to the report –

“A developer by the title earlz independently discovered and reported the vulnerability to the Bitcoin Core security contact email.”

Meanwhile, on social media, a contributor identified as a Bitcoin Cash developer who goes by the handle “Awemany” was cheered on Reddit for discovering and reporting the bug and cementing their place in “bitcoin’s history book.” Awemany in a blog post pointed to bitcoin developer Matt Corallo, whose 2016 pull request in an attempt to accelerate validation times led to what Awemany characterized as “one of the most catastrophic bugs in Bitcoin ever.”

The bottom line is that the bug was discovered and the threat has been lifted. It’s both a reminder of the risks associated with the consensus mechanism and a demonstration of good faith among the decision makers.

While it’s mostly the future of ETH that has been contemplated of late, given the plummeting of the No. 2 cryptocurrency’s value this year along with the confidence of investors, bitcoin has its own issues. In an exclusive interview with CCN, Sheffield Clark, who is at the helm of bitcoin ATM maker Coinsource, pointed to potentially “stagnant” mainstream adoption of bitcoin amid a lack of regulatory framework to help resolve issues like extreme volatility.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 70 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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