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 didnít discover that the multimillion dollar ďJoint Improvised Explosive Device Neutralizers,Ē or JINs, were kluged together from third-rate commercial electronics, and controlled by open Wi-Fi signals. In other words, the Pentagon didnít just overpay for a flawed weapon. On the off-chance the JIN ever worked, the insurgents could control it, too.

ďThis is the hack of all hacks,Ē says Cody Oliver, a freelance technologist in San Francisco. ďAnd this is what they were selling to the government? Holy ####.Ē