Last March, Evan Booth presented a blockbuster talk at Kuala Lumpur's Hack the Box conference, explaining how to improvise lethal weapons from items in airport gift shops and duty-free stores. He's kept up the work since then on a website called Terminal Cornucopia, and he's presented 10 of his scariest weapons for a Wired story. And though the functional, breech-loading shotgun made from Red Bull cans, Axe body spray, and batteries (above) is impressive, it's only for beginners. There's also fragmentary grenades made from coffee tumblers, and a dart gun that uses braided condoms for its elastic.
Terminal Cornucopia is especially impressive, or alarming, considering Booth limited himself to items that could be purchased at stores. He ignored the readily available, and wildly dangerous, high-voltage cardiac defibrillators hanging on walls and toxic cleaning chemicals left unattended on janitor’s carts, figuring removing them might draw attention. No special tools are required—all of these implements were crafted with an innocuous, TSA approved multi-tool.
Some of the designs seem complex, but after watching the videos, it’s all too easy to imagine a ne’er-do-well assembling these weapons in the loo at 30,000 feet. According to Booth, family restrooms at the airport are even better workshops for terrorists to tinker in since they offer a private space equipped with a full size sink, power supply, and a handy workbench in the form of an infant changing table.
The Constitutionally themed club called ‘Murica looks as much like an editorial cartoon as an implement of destruction, but Booth’s most dangerous projects are also the most understated. A device called Airplane Mode turns the rotors of an RC car and a Bic lighter into a remote detonation device. Paired with a suitcase filled with travel-size aerosol cans, wooden stirring sticks from Starbucks, and toilet paper snatched from the men’s room, and you have a surprisingly effective improvised explosive device.
10 Guns, Bombs, and Weapons You Can Build at the Airport [Joseph Flaherty/Wired]
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.