It turns out that ‘smart guns’ are not so smart after all (but we already knew that).
A security researcher who goes by the pseudonym “Plore” studied the Armatix iP1 smart gun, looking to see just how secure the allegedly most secure gun in the world actually is.
Based on his experiments, the highly secure handgun is not actually as secure as previously thought.
First, let’s review how a smart gun is supposed to operate:
The gun is an electrically wired device that links up with another electrical device via radio frequency. The two devices, one being the gun and other other being a special watch, must be within a certain range of each other for the gun to fire. If the user does not have the watch on his wrist, and it is not within the required range, the gun’s firing pin will not ignite the cartridge in the chamber if the trigger is pressed.
The idea behind this technology is to reduce the number of accidental shootings by unauthorized users such as children, and criminal acts conducted with stolen firearms. A great idea in theory, but this technology is not fool-proof enough to withstand the scrutiny such a device mandates.
Plore conducted a series of tests on the gun to see just how effective the security technology is. In his first round of tests, he conducted a complex series of radio frequency experiments; but towards the end of his experimentation, he found that a simple magnet could defeat the gun’s radio frequency safety component.
Watch below for a more in-depth explanation of how he did this:
The fact that he could jam the radio frequency is not something terribly surprising. Hacking is nothing new, and no one should be shocked that he was able to do it. If one manages to tap into that frequency and disable the gun during an attack, that renders the user of the gun as defenseless as if they did not even have it.
But who could have predicted that a simple magnet could completely interfere the radio frequency as well? One need not have years of radio training or hacking experience to do that.
Plore did bring up an important issue about his experiment: with this information, what is the ethical thing to do? Do you just sit on it, knowing the problems that it could create, or do you reveal it to the public, but at the same time possibly teach people how to hack into it?
He decided that people need to know about this. He also informed the company that creates the product; they did not dispute his findings.
Gun grabbers on the Left have railed against 2nd Amendment supporters for years because of opposition to smart gun technology. In their minds, it is simply unfathomable how someone could oppose a more secure gun that fewer people would be able to illicitly operate.
However, this finding by Plore proves the opponents right; this kind of technology is too vulnerable to cyber attacks (and magnetic attacks apparently) to be a reliable defensive tool. The standard firearm does not maintain any electrical components in it, and that makes the firearm immune to any form of attack to which a smart gun is susceptible.
Is it less secure that a smart gun? That depends on how you treat it. However, with a smart gun, one can have all the standard operating procedure that exists, but that person cannot stop a cyber attack that destroys the electronic communication between the devices.
That is what has gun owners up in arms.