Lethal weapons from duty-free stores

Here's a writeup of Evan Booth's Hack the Box conference presentation on making lethal weapons out of items bought in airport duty-free shops. It's pretty ingenious stuff (the video above is from a related presentation at CarolinaCon 2013).

The problem here is that legitimate purpose of airport security is not protecting passengers and flight attendants from harm. In reality, there's no way to accomplish that goal against a determined attacker. The real and legitimate purpose of airport security is to protect airplanes and cockpits from harm -- to stop people from hijacking and/or crashing airplanes (this is why the TSA correctly relaxed its rules about carrying small knives onto planes -- and why so many of their other rules are pointless and stupid). So long as none of these lethal weapons can crash an airplane or beat an armored, bolted cockpit door, they embody no new incremental threat to aviation -- on the other hand, the improvised battery-bombs are a real threat.

Besides a bomb knew Booth also easy to make a bow and arrow of stuff he had bought in a shop in an airport. For this he used an umbrella, hair dryer, socks, a leather belt and condoms. Too obvious things like a lighter and deodorant as alternative gas burner he did not elaborate.

Booth also made a crossbow of an umbrella, floss, grab a toy, a rolkoffertje, a straw and tape. With a straw, cotton and a piece of metal from a remote controlled helicopter he was able to make a blow gun for firing arrows.

Remarkable is also a club that he made a gift, what magazines, floss, a leather strap and tape. In a test showed that so firmly, that he with a single blow a coconut in several parts stores.

Onderzoeker maakt bom van artikelen luchthavenwinkels [Dutch, Nu.nl]

Researcher makes bomb Articles airport shops [Google Translate]

(via /.)


        1.  I’m still trying to teach the staff at work about leaving programs opening and just swapping between them

  1. I was in the Tokyo duty free shop, and they were selling big ceramic bladed butch knife sets.  I said to my buddy “We’re past security and just about to board our flight, and here they are handing out butcher knives!”

  2. Remarkable is also a club that he made a gift, what magazines, floss, a leather strap and tape.

    That’s some impressive found poetry right there.

  3. Some awful translation indeed – let me at least tidy up the citation:

    “As well as making a bomb, Booth had no trouble making a simple bow and arrow from goods purchased in a shop at the airport. He used an umbrella, a hair dryer, socks, a leather belt and condoms. He avoided working with items which were too obvious, such as lighters and spray-cans of deodorant.

    He also managed to make a crossbow from an umbrella, floss, a toy “grabber”, a wheeled suitcase, a straw and sellotape. Using a straw, cotton-wool balls and a piece of metal from a remote control helicopter, he produced a blowpipe and darts.

    Also remarkable was a club he made from a souvenir, some magazines, floss, a leather belt and sellotape. On testing it proved strong enough to smash a coconut into multiple pieces with a single blow.”

  4. I recall reading some junk thriller back in the 80s about a superspy who had 400 ways to kill you on an aircraft with simple things like a credit card, a pen, a tie, etc.

    Every time they’ve ratcheted up Zekurite in our airports I’ve recalled that, and looked around the stores in wonder at the number of simple things you could use to perform the undesirable.

    1. Shibumi.  It’s an awesome book, even better when you know it’s satire.  When I was 20, I didn’t get that but I still loved it.

  5. I’m sure many of us have played the makeshift weapon game while waiting for airplanes.  I know I once had a pair of children’s safety scissors confiscated at security and then went to buy a drink and saw giant glass Snapple bottles for sale and started counting all the better ways to cut someone or something that I saw then to use children’s safety scissors. 

    1. I was wondering about that issue when I was looking at the 10 inch meat carving knives in the restaurant at the gate. It would be rather easy to snag one.

    2. The TSA went diving into my bags because the x-ray spotted some very small scissors.  The guy pulled them out but I managed to get them back by pointing out  that they had rounded tips

  6. Correct translation:
    Researcher turns airportshop items into bomb
    Non of the weapons he makes is a bomb though. Still a really funny lecture.

    1. Alcohol + bottle + strips of cloth + one book of safety matches (allowed in carry-on) = molotov cocktail. All a wacko would have to do is buy a duty-free bottle of the cheapest alcohol and re-purpose a t-shirt. That’s a bomb, right there.

      1. And a Manx kitten is a tiger.

        Ethanol has a relatively low energy content per milliliter when compared to gasoline, and 80 proof hard alcohol is only 40% ethanol to begin with.  You could do better with a bottle of 151 proof rum, but we’re still only looking at a relatively cool alcohol fire.  It’d freak people out, and a specific person doused with the stuff and lit on fire could be in trouble– but liquid ethanol is not an explosive, and it’s not even a particularly effective incendiary.  (In principle, if it could be vaporized and then ignited, you could get an explosion out of it– but there’s no easy way to vaporize a liter of ethanol.)

        1.  A crossbow made out of dental floss, straw and tape probably isn’t the most powerful weapon either.

      2. The “cheapest alcohol” would likely not work as liquor only becomes flammable at room temperature when it’s above 50% ABV (100 proof+) but there are plenty of liquors sold above that.

  7. Did they let their cat take over for the weekend?  Besides a bomb knew Booth also easy to make a bow and arrow of stuff he had bought in a shop in an airport. 

  8. Geez! What’s wrong with the old 8 D Cells in a sock club….It works in prisons… Or to emulate the Stanley Knives that the TSA works so hard to eliminate, buy a disposable plastic razor, go into the toilet on the plane and cover the smoke detector,  bust the blade out of the head, heat it and press it into the plastic handle of the disposable razor! Instant craft knife and super sharp…Unless you use one that your girlfriend shaved her legs with…I have no idea how that ruins a razor, but it does.

    The TSA is a waste of time.

    1. What’s wrong with the old 8 D Cells in a sock club

      An acquaintance of mine favoured a bag containing a couple of tins of baked beans. His rationale was that ‘you can’t get arrested for carrying your shopping’.

  9. I once made a lethal weapon from a box of chocolate covered macadamias and a dozen copies of a Robert Ludlum novel. Can’t remember which one, they’re all alike. Funny thing, I wasn’t any where near an airport . . . 

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