Thursday, August 21, 2014

Researchers find security flaws in backscatter X-ray scanners

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University have discovered several security vulnerabilities in full-body backscatter X-ray scanners deployed to U.S. airports between 2009 and 2013. In laboratory tests, the team was able to successfully conceal firearms and plastic explosive simulants from the Rapiscan Secure 1000 scanner.  The team was also able to modify the scanner operating software so it presents an “all-clear” image to the operator even when contraband was detected.  

The researchers presented their study Aug. 21 at USENIX Security '14 in San Diego. Naturally, they have attracted plenty of media attention. 

A list of links for your reading pleasure:

Wired, Aug. 20, 2014, Researchers Easily Slipped Weapons Past TSA's X-Ray Bodyscanners

UT San Diego, Aug. 20, 2014, Full-body scanners miss guns, explosives

Popular Science, Aug. 21. 2014, Weapons Can Be Carried Easily Through The TSA's Full-Body "Naked" Scanners

CNNMoney, Aug. 21, 2014, Body Scanners Problem: Fails to Detect Guns,

Computerworld, Aug. 21, 2014, Retired US airport body scanners fail to spot guns, knives

MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20, 2014, Airport scanners failed to detect guns, knives, explosives

Businessweek, Aug. 20, 2014, TSA Scanners That Saw You Naked Can Be Tricked to Miss Guns, Bombs

Gizmodo, Aug. 20, 2014, It's Shockingly Easy to Hide Guns and Bombs From Backscatter Scanners

Science 2.0, Aug. 20, Low-Tech: Security Flaws In Airport Backscatter X-Ray Scanners

New York Post, Aug. 20, 2014 TSA machines failed to detect guns and bombs

BoingBoing, Aug. 20, 2014, Security researchers buy pornoscanner, demonstrate how to sneak in guns & bombs

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