Researchers use tricks to fool TSA scanners


There are several ways to hide weapons from the TSA’s Rapiscan full-body X-ray scanners, Wired reports.

These are scanners that were replaced in airports last year, the Wired’s Andy Greenberg notes, but they remain as security measures in courthouses and other government sites.

J. Alex Halderman, a University of Michigan computer science professor who studied the scanners, blames testing procedures for the holes in security.

“These machines were tested in secret, presumably without this kind of adversarial mindset, thinking about how an attacker would adapt to the techniques being used,” Halderman says. “They might stop a naive attacker. But someone who applied just a bit of cleverness to the problem would be able to bypass them.”

Shhh. Don’t tell, but here are some of the clever ways to fool the scanners:

• Hide a weapon on the side of your body

• Masking a weapon against your spine with teflon tape

• Molding plastic explosives around your body

Researchers from the University of California at San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins will present their findings at the Usenix Security Conference on Thursday.