Fear & Loading: Serial Number Harvesting, Selfie Setups

by
posted on October 29, 2019
serial-number-tracking.jpg

Optical character recognition is harvesting numbers that appear in photographs posted on the Internet, according to an article posted on car-enthusiast website Jalopnik this week. Gun serial numbers are not immune to the software, according to some outlets.

I entered roughly a dozen firearm serial numbers visible on its website and found in most cases there were no results from the search—the numbers are smaller than license plates and less readable. When a test gun wound up in the hands of another writer, however, the search results often linked directly to their images.

American Rifleman's review of the Glock G48 demonstrates the need for caution when posting on the Internet. The lineart at the bottom of the story includes an exploded view of the pistol, with serial number BKMU000. Results from a Google images search, using that alphanumeric sequence, turned up the Daily Caller authorized reprint of the same article and artwork.

The story was posted on Oct. 23, indicating the speed at which numbers are being processed through the software. The glaring omission of the original post on AmericanRifleman.org could hint at a disfavor for official NRA websites from the Internet’s largest search engine.

Selfie Scares
Setting yourself up as a target for gun thieves and fraud isn’t the only safety concern, either. A Japanese man arrested this month for attacking pop star Ena Matsuoka allegedly used her selfies to find her, according to The Telegraph. Landmarks reflected in her eyes provided the clues to triangulate her home’s location, which is kept secret from the public.  

And a final warning issued by Chinese cybersecurity expert Zhang Wei a few weeks ago indicates you should keep your hands to yourself in photos on the Internet. According to him it’s now possible to lift fingerprints—or steal them to pass into your highly sensitive workplace—if your digits appear clearly in an image. “A scissor-hand [more often called the V for victory gesture here in the West] picture taken within 1.5 meters (four feet 11 inches) can be used to restore 100 percent of people’s fingerprints, while pictures taken about 1.5-3 meters away can turn out 50 percent of the fingerprints,” he told the South China Morning Post.

 

Latest

Luger questions and answers column american rifleman gun pistol handgun left side view details inset within image
Luger questions and answers column american rifleman gun pistol handgun left side view details inset within image

Rifleman Q&A: 1900 Test Luger & Holster

I have a question about a Rock Island Arsenal holster stamped “E.H.S.” that contains a 1900 Eagle Test Luger serial No. 70XX.

NRA Gun Of The Week: Smith & Wesson CSX

Featured on this Gun Of The Week video preview, the Smith & Wesson CSX, with its alloy frame, hammer-fired operation and 12-round capacity, gives defenders a great option in the concealable micro-compact 9 mm handgun category.

The Armed Citizen® July 1, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Firm Attempts To Track Gun, Ammo Credit Card Purchases

The firm Amalgamated Bank was denied again recently by the International Standards Organization for trying to establish a new category to track firearm and ammunition purchases.

Editor's Choice: MyCaseBuilder PrintBuilder

When I find myself in possession of a gun/guns in desperate need of a case upgrade, I often turn to MyCaseBuilder, as the company not only offers a wide assortment of quality firearm cases, but its online design program allows me to custom configure each case’s interior to suit my particular needs.

Review: Culina Custom Revolver Grips

Culina Grips makes a selection of hand-crafted wood grips for Smith & Wesson revolvers, allowing wheelgun enthusiasts grip options that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but fully functional as well.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.