A security expert known as Plore has gone around the lock of the Armatix IP1 smart gun by means of only three magnets priced 15 USD. The researcher resented< his discovery at the biggest security conference DEF CON 25 in Las Vegas.

Armatix IP1 pistol employs a basic magnetic locking mechanism to avoid not authorized fire. For a person to shoot the compact pistol, he has to put on a special wristwatch that transmits an authorization signal through radio impulses to the gun that releases the trigger.

EM15-2.jpg smart gun
A smart gun, but not the one hacked mentioned in the article

CC BY 3.0, Link

Armatix introduced the IP1 gun in 2014 and advertised it as a perfect way to stop children or crooks from firing the gun. The IP1 is presently sold for prices ranging from 1,400 to 1,800 USD.

The researcher describes several methods to get around pistol’s lock mechanism. The first method comes down to utilizing a specially-crafted gadget that may cause a denial of service condition leading to a complete dysfunction of the gun. The second technique increases the distance of the watch radio signal letting anyone shoot if he\she stands near the gun owner. For security reasons, the manufacturer set the maximum limit of 25 centimeters for the watch to get the signal and allow the gun to fire. Plore’s device increases this distance to about 6 meters.

While Plore devoted more efforts and time to study the Armatix IP1 design, he shortly noticed the trigger lock relied on an ordinary electromagnet.

It didn’t require much time for the professional security researcher to realize that he might disrupt this electromagnet’s field with other magnets to release the lock. The researcher claims that it is enough to go to Amazon and buy only three magnets that cost 15 USD to unlock the trigger. The attacker should attach the magnets close to the lock and bring them at a specific angle.span

Being a white hat hacker previously fighting with ransomware, Plore immediately informed the manufacturer of those design errors. For now, it is late for the Armatix to fix the flaws. However, this case should help other smart gun manufacturers to avoid similar mistakes in future