06 Jul

LATimes – Implanted bombs: TSA warns of possible terrorist threat of bombs implanted in people

The government has warned airlines that terrorists are considering surgically implanting explosives into people in an attempt to circumvent screening procedures, according to U.S. officials.

There is no indication of an immediate plot, but the new information could lead to additional screening procedures at the nation’s airports. Existing scanners would not necessarily detect bombs implanted under a person’s skin, experts said.

via LATimes – Implanted bombs: TSA warns of possible terrorist threat of bombs implanted in people. The threats will continue to magically appear until we all fear everything and give up every sense of privacy and self-respect to the TSA to implement rules and procedures that do nothing to solve the real problem.

01 Jan

Schneier on Security – Full Body Scanners: What’s Next?

Once again, the TSA is covering their own asses by implementing security-theater measures to prevent the previous attack while ignoring any threats of future attacks. It’s the same thinking that caused them to ban box cutters after 9/11, screen shoes after Richard Reid, limit liquids after that London gang, and — I kid you not — ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces after they were used to house package bombs from Yemen. They act like the terrorists are incapable of thinking creatively, while the terrorists repeatedly demonstrate that can always come up with a new approach that circumvents the old measures.

The truth is that exactly two things have made air travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing cockpit doors and convincing passengers they need to fight back. The TSA should continue to screen checked luggage. They should start screening airport workers. And then they should return airport security to pre-9/11 levels and let the rest of their budget be used for better purposes. Investigation and intelligence is how we’re going to prevent terrorism, on airplanes and elsewhere. It’s how we caught the liquid bombers. It’s how we found the Yemeni printer-cartridge bombs. And it’s our best chance at stopping the next serious plot.

via Schneier on Security – Full Body Scanners: What’s Next?. Simply and beautifully put.

11 Dec

Journal of Transportation Security – An evaluation of airport x-ray backscatter units based on image characteristics

Little information exists on the performance of x-ray backscatter machines now being deployed through UK, US and other airports. We implement a Monte Carlo simulation using as input what is known about the x-ray spectra used for imaging, device specifications and available images to estimate penetration and exposure to the body from the x-ray beam, and sensitivity to dangerous contraband materials. We show that the body is exposed throughout to the incident x-rays, and that although images can be made at the exposure levels claimed (under 100 nanoGrey per view), detection of contraband can be foiled in these systems. Because front and back views are obtained, low Z materials can only be reliable detected if they are packed outside the sides of the body or with hard edges, while high Z materials are well seen when placed in front or back of the body, but not to the sides. Even if exposure were to be increased significantly, normal anatomy would make a dangerous amount of plastic explosive with tapered edges difficult if not impossible to detect.

via Journal of Transportation Security – An evaluation of airport x-ray backscatter units based on image characteristics.. Yet another reason for why the backscatter machines need to be independently tested.

16 Feb

Director Kevin Smith told he was ‘too big’ to fly – BBC News

Clerks director Kevin Smith has revealed he was asked to get off a plane in the US because he was too big for the seats.

BBC News – Director Kevin Smith told he was ‘too big’ to fly. This was really dumb of Southwest and yet another thing with social media companies mistakes are publicized in real time before the company can fix it.