Guy Builds Ten Weapons With Products Purchased After Getting Through Airport Security

from the security-theater dept

If past history is any indication, it seems likely that the little convenience shop on the “air side” of most airports is soon going to be told to stop selling certain items. Last week a few sites, including Boing Boing, Gizmodo and Business Insider, all had stories on a guy who showed how to build a small bomb in less than ten minutes with items that could all be purchased after already passing through TSA security in an airport. The bomb may not be that big, but you could see how it could do at least some damage (and, given the situation, it’s not that difficult to imagine ways to make changes to it that would be more damaging).

But, here’s the thing. That video isn’t the only weapon shown. The YouTube account Terminal Cornucopia actually put up ten videos of weapons that can be built on the air side of airport security, including a crossbow, a remote detonator, a slingbow, a “remotely triggered incendiary suitcase,” a shotgun, a spiked club, a pewter slug and a blowgun.
Frankly, the exploding suitcase and possibly the shotgun strike me as even more impressive than the initial small bomb.

So, who’s behind this? Apparently, it’s a security researcher named Evan Booth who explains that he sent all of these examples to the TSA. He also explains his response to the obvious question: “but what if the terrorists see these videos?”

That’s a great question. An even better question is: What if they already know all this? All of these findings have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security (TSA) to help them better detect these types of threats. Furthermore, the next time you fly, you’ll be flying as a more informed consumer (and taxpayer, possibly) — one who is more equipped to demand better, more appropriate airport security.

Which, of course, is really the point. Pretending that keeping this info secret makes people safer means believing that if you don’t know about a security hole it goes away.

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Comments on “Guy Builds Ten Weapons With Products Purchased After Getting Through Airport Security”

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Violynne (profile) says:

I’m not surprised by this. If prisoners can fashion weapons from everything things such as a newspaper (warning: newspapers may be banned from planes after TSA reads this comment), then there’s opportunity for others to craft devices found everywhere.

It wouldn’t surprise me if people made weapons from things found aboard the very plane they’re flying on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Truth is, if someone wants to cause mayhem on an airplane/airport, there are plenty of opportunities and methods available, some of which don’t require much ingenuity or specific talent.

Like you said, prisoners can fashion crude weapons from basic materials. A mirror (those haven’t been banned yet, right?) can be broken and wrapped with some toilet paper to make a simple shiv.

Plastic cutlery (or a toothbrush, etc.) can be sharpened against some abrasive surface (the bathroom wall?) into a deadly cutting edge.

These are just some examples.

For those not familiar, those crude weapons are sharp, and rather effective in the hands of someone with the right motivation. One slice on your jugular and you’re dead.

Anyway, six people thus armed can take over a plane, no problem, especially if they make an example out of some hapless passenger first. They could also – alternatively – grab some people in the airport terminal and hold a “knife” to their throats.

Obsessing over what bits people can bring into airplanes, and what kinds of weapons they can fashion with those bits is both unhealthy and unproductive. Time would be better spent trying to figure out ways to make airports and planes a less desirable target…like locking and hardening the pilot cabin doors, which has done more for security than all of these years of theater.

In both situations, the “terrorists” will get torn to shreds by officers with guns, but, as we know, the point of terrorism is to show up in the news, not necessarily make it out alive.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: What's TSA been doing all this time?

Quite, though I wouldn’t have the TSA in charge of looking for ways to make stuff like that dangerous(government employees as a whole are not exactly rewarded or encouraged to be creative), in their shoes I’d enlist a far more dangerous, and creative group:

Junior high and high school students.

It would go something like this(Either A or B):

A) Set up a competition, where numerous schools are provided the contents of your typical airport gift-shop, given a month to brain-storm and create, and tell them that the top three schools to come up with the most numerous ‘potentially dangerous designs’ will receive a reward.

B) Same as A, except tell them that it’s just a ‘creativity’ challenge, warn them strongly that they are not to create anything that looks like a weapon, and then at the end of the month see how many ways the little crazies have come up with to turn otherwise harmless items into things that go boom, zap, slice, or otherwise cause havoc, all while looking harmless.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

swarmed by whom?
the flying public who most likely will pull out their phones to instagram what is going on rather than get involved?

While some people with bad intentions have been stopped, more people are aware of the bad things that happen to people who take action rather than wait for someone else to solve it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In the case of ‘plane hijackings’ though, the ‘bad things’ would be ‘everyone on the plane dies'(whether true in that instance or not, that’s how people are likely to see it), so it would be in everyone’s best interest to take out the hijackers, as sitting by and hoping someone else will do it is likely to lead to all of them dying.

anonymouse says:


The TSA is there to brainwash the public into thinking it should be ok to strip search and harass any member of the public, damn any American is prepared to have even worse done to anyone at the airport becasue they have been made to fear terrorism even in the most unlikely places, like an airport

This just proves that the TSA is not there to protect against attacks , it is to brainwash the public into accepting that the right to freely move around the country is really in the hands of the government.

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