back to article 'MacGyver' geezer makes 'SHOTGUN, GRENADE' from airport shop tat

Application developer and part-time security researcher Evan Booth has produced a series of videos showing how an array of apparently deadly weapons can be MacGyver'd from stuff on sale in airport shops. His inventions can be built from things bought after walking through the usual security checks; we're told they include a …

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Coat

Re: what changed?

"well trained cowboy ...shoving a pork sausage down your throat"

Is this the comedy cowboy from the Village People?

Sorry, I think I just regressed to being 12 again <manic giggles>

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Re: Theater, indeed

"This is exactly my point about AQ attacks and 9/11. If a group is so well organised they can pull off simultaneous multiple hijackings, but are unable to attempt "simple" terror attacks in the following years, then what changed?"

[deadpan] That just proves all the NSA spying has been a complete success. [/deadpan]

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Aren't we lucky ...

... that aircraft aren't made of plasterboard (drywall).

While I can see past this rather hopeless example, to the bigger picture (and this obsession that americans seem to have with gun-shaped weapons - seriously guys ... move with the times). The basic principle is that a nice sharp piece of glass is still all you need. And that's never been in short supply.

However, since we don't find that aircraft are being threatened every day by baddies with home-made glass daggers held to the throat of aircrew (no matter how irritating they can be) we should be able to draw some rather simple conclusions that availability does not inevitably lead to implementation.

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Gold badge

Re: Aren't we lucky ...

I don't think you can hijack a plane with knives any more. You need to be able to kill lots of people at distance to do that, as if you have to get close to people - they're probably going to fight back.

In the 'good old days' hijackers mostly wanted to get on TV for a bit and then be allowed to negotiate so they could get away. But that all changed after September 11th. So standard procedure is no longer to cooperate. Even the guys on the 4th flight that very day had worked that out, whereas passengers in most hijackings before had kept their heads down and hoped for negotiation.

Admittedly that didn't stop Stansted security from taking my nail clippers away. And spoiling my plan to hijack a plane by threatening the cabin crew with really bad manicures...

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He should have used Pringles tubes

They're traditional, for a good reason.

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Happy

Re: He should have used Pringles tubes

Once you pop a cap in their ass you can't stop.

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Mushroom

Coming up next on Mythbusters....

Can you really disarm a nuclear war head with only Mentos and Coke?

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Re: Coming up next on Mythbusters....

actually mentos and coke would make quite a "splash"

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Re: Coming up next on Mythbusters....

Judging by what Coke does to teeth, keyboards and electronics, the answer should be a resounding "Yes and you don't need the Mentos". What's a Mento anyway?

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FAIL

Deterance, not theatre.

"....current airport security practices have more to do with theater than with keeping people safe." As pointed out above, if the nutters want to just kill people then there are simpler options like trying to car-bomb Times Square. But when the nutters go for planes as a target it's because they have bigger plans in mind, such as hijacking (big in the last century) or dramatic destruction (e.g., 9/11). Both require taking control of the aircraft if only for a short time, which means weapons. To them, the big barrier is getting weapons onboard, for which the "theatre" is very effective in stopping.

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WTF?

@Matt Bryant - Re: Deterance, not theatre.

> To them, the big barrier is getting weapons onboard, for which the "theatre" is very effective in stopping.

Obligatory video clip of Adam Savage relating how he walked through airport security carrying two 12" long industrial razor blades http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3yaqq9Jjb4

Bravo, TSA!

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Re: Deterance, not theatre.

The lockable cabin doors that have been installed since 11/9 are the biggest barrier to the would-be hijacker.

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A thought experiment

1.Buy a 1 l bottle of duty free or even a gift 6 pack of beers for you and your mates.

2. Wait a bit then get your bottles.

3. smash against seat, instant knife

4.???

5.Profit

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Re: A thought experiment

Smashing a bottle to produce an improvised weapon is very difficult*. Have you ever tried it? It's not like Hollywood bottles that you just tap on the edge of the nearest table, it requires serious grunt AND a seriously hard and unyielding surface to smash against.

Having said that, pretty much agree with the general gist of comments above - explosive / flammable materials are pretty easy to come by and there are many many places with masses of people and no protection. In the US doubly so since firearms are so easy to coe by, and surely tehy don't care about other citizens with conceal carry weapons, after all they ARE on a suicide mission, aren't they? If terrorists' only aim was killing people they would do it much more frequently. Since it isn't happening the logical conclusion is that real live terrorists are EXTREMELY scarce.

*Of course it's only hard if you're trying and as per Murphy, the bottle will only break if it falls accidentally and/or it's 'safely' packed in your luggage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A thought experiment

> It's not like Hollywood bottles that you just tap on the edge of the nearest table, it requires serious grunt

> AND a seriously hard and unyielding surface to smash against

And make sure the fucker's empty, or at least the contents are not pressurised, or the flying glass shards could spell very bad news for you.

On the other hand, an unbroken bottle still works a treat to club people on the head with. It does make a somewhat comedic "cloink, cloink" sound so no points for intimidation effect, but at least it does do the job.

(Sorry, can't think of the IT angle right now)

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Re: A thought experiment

And make sure the fucker's empty, or at least the contents are not pressurised, or the flying glass shards could spell very bad news for you.

The 2009 Ig Nobel peace prize was given for research that is eerily similar:

http://www.improbable.com/ig/winners/#ig2009

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Underpants

When we had a shoe bomber we all had to take our shoes off.

Then we had the underpants bomber and .... nothing

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Re: Underpants

You apparently missed the TSA fondling that was rapidly replaced by the nudie scanner that is now being replaced by the stick figure scanner.

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Unhappy

As if security theatre were *about* security.

In reality it's about :-

1)Making Merkins feel insecure and reinforcing the "US is in a constant state of war with (well someone, although all the most recent US cases have been home brewed) and these "precautions" are necessary, along with a few others (as revealed by Edward Snowden, the dirty rat b**tard) we can't tell you about, but trust us, they are for your safety"

2)Ensuring assorted govt con-tractors get fat contracts.

3) Keeping a large bunch of fairly unemployable people employed (and the US has no govt make work programmes. Really?)

4)Offering opportunities for said employees to supplement their income by stealing anything they fancy while rummaging through your stuff.

Security? Talk to El Al. They've faced real terrorists.

So the theatre will go on until someone starts asking serious questions about the cost.

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Big Brother

Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

It's just like 1984. In fact it is disturbingly like 1984.

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Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

"So the theatre will go on until someone starts asking serious questions about the cost"

Bin Laden was a lot smarter than most give him credit for. I recall him saying in an interview it was "about bankrupting" the USA and allies. Spectacular gets attention and money tossed at it. A lot of money tossed at airport security and stadium events.

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Re: As if security theatre were *about* security.

"Spectacular gets attention and money tossed at it."

IIRC, the general opinion is the the US "won" the cold war because those dirty pinko commis couldn't keep up in the spending race.

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Anonymous Coward

"...a potentially lethal set of nunchucks..."

A potentially lethal set of nunchucks can be made from one or two of the longer, heavier buckle, half of your seat belt - as so thoughtfully provided on your seat 27C. Ideal for anti-terrorist purposes.

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Re: "...a potentially lethal set of nunchucks..."

But how you gonna cut it free now they've taken your nail clippers?

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Anonymous Coward

Airport security is designed to scare people into tolerating an invasive government going into their lives "for your protection".

The Bush / Obama administrations have killed more than three times the people who died in 9/11. That has generated a lot of hate towards them and now they live the life of the self-fulfilling prophecy. No level of security can stop someone who has decided to throw their life away and you cannot protect everything all the time.

Absolute failure across the board.

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I've always found it kind of odd-funny that people are perfectly fine roaming around in stores/public as long as they think nobody has a gun or this seasons latest suicide apparel. Just about any clever person can assemble some pretty dangerous stuff with the contents of any given store. You take a clever person and give them a formal university education* and that person can assemble some truly dangerous stuff with common items.

They teach you all you need to know in primary school chemistry and from there they just show you more advanced ways to refine it all. I guess lots of people just don't pay attention in school. Something is wrong anyway, when a pressure cooker is a WMD. Possibly people are blinded to real risks because they're on the lookout for near mythical terrorists? Don't know really, but it's weird and kind of dumb.

*The most potentially dangerous type of DIY person I've ever met are country farmers. A working farm has tools, materials and seclusion and farmers are probably the most ingeniously practical people on Earth.

** Maybe we should eliminate education (I guess we are working on that) and farming altogether. Classically educated people and farmers are simply too dangerous to have walking around. Think of the destructive potential of an educated farmer!!!!!. DOWN WITH FARMERS!.

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Happy

@Don Jefe

*The most potentially dangerous type of DIY person I've ever met are country farmers. A working farm has tools, materials and seclusion and farmers are probably the most ingeniously practical people on Earth.

You might like to look up Frank Herbert's "Committee of the Whole."

You'll see why.

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Happy

Re: @Don Jefe

And many farmers have degrees anyway! (Agricultural degrees and others)

Young Farmer's rallies often have competitions such a trebuchet construction and accuracy in use (in large fields!) Or pumped water, or pumped air, or catapault launch systems! Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge"

It's a good job they are the salt of the earth!

"Get orf my land" takes on a whole new threat level when you know about this.

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Mushroom

Re: @Don Jefe

"Or making fighting vehicles al la "Scrap Heap Challenge""

Now that's a proper jaaarrrb!

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>>Security? Talk to El Al. They've faced real terrorists.

UK Security Forces have been dealing with terrorism now, for about, forty years, and guess what - the vast majority of the practises that the TSA use are the same or similar to what the Israelis and British security use.

Which is really unsurprising given that they train together all the time, learn off each other all the time...

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Anonymous Coward

But Profits come before security

Most airlines/airports insist on people getting to check-in 2 or 3 hours before the flight - why? So they can sell stuff in the overpriced duty free shops. If passengers went straight to boarding areas (no shops) after security checks then the potential for self-made devices could be reduced. If the airports want to sell you stuff they should do it BEFORE security checks, not after.

So I personally would suggest that passengers can check their luggage (2 hours or whatever before the flight), and loiter outside security in the shops,restaurants etc. There would be no shops after security, and so people would only go through when 'go to gate' is shown.

This would reduce the number of person who would be airside, reduce the channel for getting things into airside (think restocking of duty free shops, deliveries), and reduce the items that could be used to make weapons (not just what is sold in the shops/restaurants but also the items they use behind the scenes - think restaurant kitchens for one).

But, as we know - profits come before security.

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Re: But Profits come before security

That is exactly how Schiphol airport is (used to be?) set up. Individual metal detectors and scanners at every gate. "departures" just means you have a boarding pass meaning it's practically a public area and all the du-free, restaurants etc are there. Then you need to pass security at the gate to get on the airplane.

Of course this means many more scanners, metal detectors and staff, meaning more expense, which is another reason why most airports go for the less secure (and cheaper) one-security-check-for-everyone-before-duty-free approach

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FAIL

Heathrow wouldn't be the same ...

without all the exorbitantly priced 'duty free' shops - this would mean passengers could save 30-60 minutes reaching their gates.

And what other idiot airport would put a duty free store just before arriving passengers hit the Customs Red and Green exits?

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Re: Heathrow wouldn't be the same ...

Many long times ago I worked for a company that opened some airport retail shops. It's the most insanely screwed up model in retail. Everybody from the airline who owns the concourse, the actual airport, the local agencies that manage the airport as well as state and Federal agencies all have their fingers in the pie.

I'm probably the last person to support competition based on price, but the airport model is simply wasteful and stupid. After about a year they closed those stores after final cost analysis showed the sq/ft price to be slightly above what we would pay in downtown Manhattan. If airport retail shops were reasonably priced they'd actually do a lot more business.

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Black Helicopters

Steak Knives

I've always thought it to be bit silly that once you pass through security, you can pony-up to a bar and grab a 7-Inch steak knife.

They are obviously less dangerous than my fingernail clippers.

It's possible to board a plane with a suitcase full of 3-ounce bottles too, right ?

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Re: Steak Knives

You dont even need to pony up to the bar sometimes.

Having spent nearly 2 hours getting through Security, and having had a jar of Jam (it is NOT a liquid!!), and a multi-tool with a 2" blade confiscated, I climbed onto the 747 and was handed a 7" steak knife - along with EVERY other passenger - to eat our airline mush with.

(Beijing, 2011, China Southern Airline).

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Bah!

I was laughing out loud at this once the terror weapon had been activated and I pictured the mad jihadi trying to get people to stand still in front of the smoking Small Change Gun Of Eventual Small Scale Mahem while at the same time avoiding being shot by someone with a real gun.

Let's hope Mr Terrorist actually tries to use this beyond dumb idea instead of just getting the airport support staff to plant actual weapons on the planes.

I've no doubt taxpayer money will be wasted on this nonsense as politicians convene think tanks and enquiry panels to carry them up to the Christmas break.

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Bronze badge

Re: Bah!

I think that triggering the "Unload Magazine"-reflex conditioned into the airport cops will have at least some effect on the bystanders.

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Anonymous Coward

This will freak my Brit friends

In Texas, there are about 600,000 Concealed Handgun License holders, which means that 1 out of every 25 Texans you meet may be armed. This is a direct result of a infamous Active Shooter at a Luby's cafeteria restaurant many years ago, and the insistence of drug crazed hoodlums who violently practice carjacking and home invasion. I drive to work with a 9mm concealed but within reach, and lock it up when parked. Company frowns on packing heat in the office.

Btw, we have been fingerprinted (my originals at the FBI date back from military service in 1968), background checked, trained in the law of self defense and argument de-escalation, and taught proper firearm control. You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target.

We don't much like Muslim terrorists, street criminals, or politicians who would disarm us. That is why we are called citizens, and not subjects.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This will freak my Brit friends

Try learning a little more up to date information on the 'brits' you are verbally attacking

1 - guns are not banned in the UK

2 - we are citizens & not subjects

Try & leave the very redneck sounding comments at home next time pal

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This will freak my Brit friends

" Btw, we have been fingerprinted (my originals at the FBI date back from military service in 1968), background checked, trained in the law of self defense and argument de-escalation, and taught proper firearm control. You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target. "

Meanwhile, in my country we were taught good manners. :-)

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@ anonymous cletus Re: This will freak my Brit friends

"You have to put most of the bullets into the man sized silhouette B-27 target."

I guess the term "watch your background" never made it onto the training course if its only most of the bullets.

Not sure how you marry up proper firearm control with missing the target!

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FAIL

Nail Clippers

My track of thought on nail clippers is always, if your the kind of person capable of taking over a plane with only a pair of nail clippers you can probably do adequate damage with nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Just don't get me started on

Alkali metals.

Seems that rubidium can be purchased online if you know where to look (cough SilkRoad2 /cough)

and if some cunning person swallowed that coated in clingfilm.. Spontaneous Human Combustion (!)

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Re: Just don't get me started on

Caesium for an even more explosive reaction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSZ-3wScePM (Open University broadcast. I have to wonder how many out-takes before they got the Caesium just right :-)

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Anonymous Coward

No Shock here

They sell everything you need to make weapons at an airport, I never understood why they really bothered with the massive security theatre they do..

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Unhappy

But watch out or one of those TSA wobblebottoms will sit on you.

And they will need a scraper to get you off the concourse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re. Caesium

You think its bad *now*, just wait until someone perfects the nuclear hand grenade.

Google "hafnium controversy", seems some scientists might have figured out a way to harness the natural metastable isomers of some metals ie hafnium and tantalum 180m using a portable pulsed X-ray generator to cause a cascade of gamma rays in the exawatt range.

I did some calculations and if less than 10% of a 700 gram sphere of pure Ta180 or a suitable mass of another isomer destabilised at once, the gammas could cause a fusion ignition in the sphere.

Cue total ownage, 1984 being used as an instruction manual, the Internet being shut down, etc.

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Re: Re. Caesium

"portable pulsed X-ray generator"

Just out of interest, how small could one of those be packaged down to using actual technology usable outside of a Star Trek episode? I'm thinking the term "hand grenade" is somewhat optimistic.

I seem to remember during GWB's reign there were hysterical fears of a suitcase nuke making it into some crowded metropolis. Then we changed administrations and took a reality break.

Then there was that whole "cook up Mother of Satan in an aeroplane bathroom using household chemicals" nonsense that had various people in a tizzy for months and filled up I dunno how many hours of congressional hearings.

Color me not very scared, but maybe I lack the imagination to properly assess this NHG threat you warn of.

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Anonymous Coward

RE. Re. Re, Caesium

Well you can get pulsed X-ray tubes now for not much, the trick is just to choose one with a matching range of kV and mask it off with a given thickness of Al and Be to block the low energy X-rays.

I reckon that something with about a half kiloton yield could be made to fit into a standard sized briefcase that would (thanks to no explosives) get through nearly every scan.

The slight problem is that Ta180 is incredibly rare and would set off the portal scanners from just the gamma leakage even if you managed to get enough in one place at the same time.

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