The Pentagon Spent Millions on Weapons That Could Be Hacked by the Enemy, Then Sold Them for Parts on eBay

Wiredbrings us a story that is sure to inspire the utmost confidence in our government's weapons-buying (and selling) prowess:

There was a time, not all that long ago, when the Pentagon sank tens of millions of dollars into remote-controlled lightning guns that it hoped would fry insurgent bombs before they killed any more troops. Now, disassembled parts from the one-time wonder-weapons are being sold on eBay. At least one buyer snatched up the gear, hoping to use it in his latest art project for Burning Man.

All of which would make for a funny little story, if that buyer didn’t discover that the multimillion dollar “Joint  Improvised Explosive Device Neutralizers,” or JINs, were kluged together from third-rate commercial electronics, and controlled by open Wi-Fi signals. In other words, the Pentagon didn’t just overpay for a flawed weapon. On the off-chance the JIN ever worked, the insurgents could control it, too.

“This is the hack of all hacks,” says Cody Oliver, a freelance technologist in San Francisco. “And this is what they were selling to the government? Holy shit.”

Uh, awesome. As it turns out, the eBay buyer who snatched up the parts for his Burning Man project couldn't even use the gear.

The gear just seemed too jury-rigged. Its network detector was a wire connected to the “on” light on the front of the router.

“I just don’t trust it,” he says.

Weapons parts that the U.S. government spent tens of millions of dollars obtaining are too crappy for Burning Man. Oy vey.

Read the entire article on the Wiredwebsite.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at August 5, 2011, 5:07am

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