There has been a lot of news lately about surrounding the organisation known as DEFCAD and one it’s founders, Cody Wilson. The organisation distributes 3D CAD files which can be used to print guns parts such as lower receivers and magazines but more recently, the organisation has published a CAD file to produce a complete and functional firearm.
Following the American Revolution, the United States constitution was produced, which basically allowed regular American citizens to own their own firearms. Though that statement is a gross oversimplification of gun law and culture in America, there has been a lot of recent debate surrounding the current status of gun law in the United States, following the rise of school shootings and other gun-related crime, such as the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
For some Americans, such as Cody Wilson, the thought of loosing the right to keep and bare arms is a real nightmare, which goes against the fundamental principles which helped shaped and build the country. Therefore, DEFCAD was basically setup to defend that right, such that anyone with access to a 3D printer can produce their own firearms irrespective of any changes in gun law/constitution.
DEFCAD has gained a lot of media attention, which is strange, considering that home-made guns are nothing new. There are also a couple problems associated with 3D printed guns, due to the fact they use plastic, or plastic composites:
- Firstly, guns are dangerous, really dangerous. Muskets, which are one of the most primitive firearms, can backfire or even explode if they are not correctly loaded. With current technology, or at least using technology which is financially feasible for non-commercial uses, a 3D printed gun would most likely be composed entirely of plastic. These plastics are no-where near as durable as the materials used in commercial firearms, and therefore, producing firearms in these materials presents a far larger threat to their user.
- Home made weapons are not accurate. One of the hardest jobs for a gunsmith is Rifling, which is a process designed to increase not only the accuracy of a projectile sent through a barrel but also it’s distance. Rifling is a hard process to get right, and it differs between the types of project used. The designs provided by DEFCAD most likely don’t take rifling into account, and even if they do, it’s probably not done correctly.
- Weapons overheat and barrels degrade. The plastic components in 3D guns will have much lower stress levels when compared to commercial-grade firearms and thus, will not be anywhere near as usable.
- 3D Printers are expensive. Some of the printers used by DEFCAD cost thousands of dollars. Real guns cost a lot less and home-made weapons can be made for even less.
- Metal components will have to be used somewhere. Though rubber bullets exist, plastic printed guns are not going to do much damage unless the projectiles they fire are of metal construction and non of the 3D printers I’ve seen have the ability to produce metal designs.
People have been making their own firearms for hundreds of years and there are many, well documented guides on how you can do this, which can be purchased from stores such as Amazon or even downloaded for free through the Internet. Unlike DEFCAD, these guides show you not only how to build your own weapons at a cheaper cost, but also how to produce ammunition for them too.
One of the main names behind these guides is PA Luty, an Englishman who has been in and out of prison several times for providing information on homemade firearms. His website, http://thehomegunsmith.com, details the construction of silencers, along with pistol and shotgun ammunition.
PA Luty published a book called “Expedient Homemade Firearms: The 9mm Submachine Gun”, which details how to produce a 9mm machine gun using readily available parts which can be found in most hardware stores.
Paladin Press also provide information on home-made firearms, such as the infamous “Home-made 50-cal sniper rifle”: http://www.paladin-press.com/product/The_50-Caliber_Rifle_Construction_Manual
There is also some information regarding a home-made sub-machine gun in Urbano’s book titled Fighting in the Streets: Manual of Urban Guerilla Warfare.
It’s surprising to see that the mainstream media has completely ignored these sources, especially as they pose a bigger threat to gun-control than DEFCAD and 3D Printing. If the United States government really wants to control firearms, they should start by attempting to control ammunition sales first. Home-made ammunition is low quality and can’t be produced through 3D printing. Whats the worth of a firearm if it doesn’t have any ammunition?
As I haven’t posted for a while, I felt obliged to write something for Christmas. Cyber Security Challenge UK are running yet another one of their cool challenges with a nice prize. Up for grabs is a Pico SAM9G45 board with an ARM9 CPU (board link here) and a small 4.3 inch touch screen (screen link here).
All that seems to have been provided is a picture containing the Cipher-text, but there are no clues about what Cipher has been used or what attack could be employed to reveal the plain-text.
More information can be found about the challenge here. I don’t have much time to look at the problem at the moment, but it seems like the whole answer could be in the picture. The site has also dropped some UserID’s for twitter, so I would also take a look at their conversation history to see if they mention anything of interest.
Merry Christmas/Cryptmas All!
I’ve been watching a lot of Vice documentaries lately, as their obscure articles and odd journalists are proving to be much more exciting then most of the mainstream media. One video in particular really caught my eye, which is about fraud and fraudsters in England.
It’s quite worrying to think that fraud can be committed so easily, especially as I’ve given my card details, national insurance number and passport information away countless times in the past for job interviews, bank applications and many other reasons. The video goes to show just how poor some major retailers are at setting the correct policies, and providing the right staff-training to identify and deal with fraud. Enjoy.
For those of you who don’t know, Intel recently released their first commercial Android phone, the Intel AZ210. The phone has been launched successfully in India (known as the XOLO X900), the United Kingdom (known as the Orange San Diego) and in Russia as the Megaphone Mini.
The phone contains a full powered Intel Atom processor which has been shrunk down to grant better battery life and a smaller footprint. The phone is not aimed at the high end market, but more the mid-range and has a very good price tag for the features it delivers.
I’ve been using this particular device for a while as a work phone and for Android Development. Intel provide a nice website with some tools to help developers with the Android platform:
In particular, the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager is pretty useful if your processor supports Intel VT Technology, usually the Android Emulator is very slow:
I’d really recommend the Intel phone for anyone who is looking for a cheap android platform to work with, there are still many apps out there which do not support the X86 platform for one reason or another and with prices this low, I don’t see why more people aren’t compiling for that instruction set.
If you’re interested in Purchasing a San Diego within the UK, please check out Orange’s website:
I saw some videos shooting around on the internet recently from an Iranian TV Channel which show supposed defective nuclear parts supplied by Siemens:
The parts apparently have been tampered such that they have a version of Stuxnet embedded into their hardware. Stuxnet is a highly sophisticated computer worm, which targets Siemens industrial software and equipment. According to several sources, the worm has been used to monitor (and sabotage) five different Iranian organisations, which are suspected to be part of a uranium enrichment infrastructure.
There are also a couple of pictures here: http://t.co/dbNRylY5