Monday, June 10, 2013

Open call for comments - re: TSA

Okay, admittedly this isn't directly related to information security.  But if you are familiar with the ISC2 CBOK, you know that physical security is one of the domains.  Good, so we've established this is at least loosely related, so what is it?

Explosives where the sun don't shine
According to a NY Times article, an attacker tried to kill an Afghani dignitary by hiding explosives in his rectum.  That's right, his rectum.  And the plan worked (sort of).  He detonated the explosive and delivered minor injuries to his target.  The attacker of course was killed, but I'm told that's a predictable side effect of detonating explosives from inside your body.  

According to reports, he was strip searched, but still managed to hide the goods and detonate the bomb.  So strip searching didn't work.  The L3 millimeter wave imaging machine focuses all the energy on a suspect's skin, so that won't help either.  Even a friendly TSA groping wont' help.  This is truly a problem, and I don't mean to make light of it.

Silver Linings
The only good thing I can say about this is that at least this guy didn't bomb an airplane.  Every time the TSA has a near miss, they institute some half-baked scheme to prevent it from happening again.  First we had a shoe bomber, now we can't wear our shoes through a checkpoint.  After the underwear bomber, plans to deploy imaging machines were accelerated.  Threats of liquid explosives?  Now we have plastic baggies and no drinks through the checkpoint (Ziploc and airport shops are thriving though).  I shudder to think what TSA will do to combat the yet-to-be-seen rectum bomber.

Every time TSA does something stupid, I get to enjoy a laugh on SNL.  Hopefully the censors don't prevent SNL from doing an awesome skit on the future safeguards, whatever they may be.

If this trend catches on, I can't imagine what the outcome will be, but I'm sure it won't be good.  The only good thing to note is that there's a limited amount of explosive that one can hide using this method.  Note, I'm no expert in the field of inter-body-concealment, but physics being what they are...  I seriously have no idea how TSA (or any security agency) is going to effectively handle this.  My first thought comes back to profiling, and while that has proven effective in some cases (outrage aside), critics rightly point out that terrorists actively recruit those who don't fit the profile.  So that can't be 100% of the solution.

I'm not the smartest guy on the planet.  Chime in and let's figure out options for detection.  Better we figure it out here than leaving this to the TSA.  And the clock is ticking folks, some Washington bureaucrats are meeting right now to approve random body cavity searches at checkpoints.  Believe me, we want to get out in front of this.

1 comment:

  1. "Believe me, we want to get out in front of this" OR maybe we want to get behind this instead??


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