Schneier on Security
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August 12, 2006
Getting Into the Terrorists' Heads
Posted on August 12, 2006 at 3:09 PM
• 23 Comments
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I think there's much more truth in there than people might think...
Humor is far more effective than terrorism in winning a battle. Hit them in the funny bone, that's where they expect it least.
I'm actually for making the short term restrictions so terribly onerous that the airline industry will have to lobby to have them made "sane".
If we want to get rid of security theater at the airports, we need to find a way that it costs the airlines too much money to allow it to occur.
It's my hope that the checked luggage storage areas in existing airplanes are not large enough to carry all the passenger's carry-ons in the long term. If this is true, then airlines will press for a "return to normal" after the immediacy of the threat has passed.
The passengers need an ally against unreasonable DHS security theater at airports and that ally has to the airline industry.
If the restrictions cost the Airlines too money, then maybe we'll finally get the support we need towards "sane and effective" flight safety security.
David Donahue: I think you're right, but I think banning carry-on luggage isn't going to have that effect even when carried to an extreme, because now the airlines have the opportunity to vastly expand the range of convenience items they can sell or rent to you onboard at inflated prices.
I picked this up at MCN.
Why Do People Google Bomb?
Here at Microcontent News headquarters, we identified four top reasons why people bomb Google:
Let's take a look at each of these
1. Humor Bombs
Admit it... it's pretty funny to see your friend come up in Google as the #1 Talentless Hack in the whole world.
So, I got a thinkin'! How do you sink terrorism? Humor, money, ego, justice should work. Right? We have Google. They can't hijack Google. Now the fun begins. Start Google bombing the terrorists. And they hate those little cartoons. Maybe we can start by Google bombing bin laden. He's still using tapes and we have all this computing power. It's the cavemen vs. 2006. Google bomb jihad and the Flinstones pop up all over Google.
Here's the top Google hit for bin laden.
Video clips and accompanying text from investigative documentary on the suspected terrorist mastermind.
Suspected? Come on PBS, he's way beyond suspect. He's as guilty as sin. Guilty as sin should make a good Google bomb. As good as dead is another Google bomb idea, along with death cult.
PBS holds him up as the mastermind. With masterminds like this, who needs a mind? Never mind!
More ideas from MCN: Justice Bombs can be tossed at evil corporations. The target then was Critical IP, a corporation accused with telemarketing to domain name owners by stealing phone numbers out of an Internet database.
In fact, several bloggers have built Justice Bombs after last week's article...
Hmmm, people are all worked up with AAA Corp. (I made that up), meanwhile back at the ranch 23 terrorist guys are planning something big. If you make terrorism a joke, only terrorists will look like fools. Which they are of course. Fools is a good Google bomb for terrorists. Nobody wants to be called a fool. Right? Mr. T perfected calling people fool on that TV show.
This is a good one. Kids and security.
The liquid bomb threat was genius, even if they didn't actually get to bomb anybody.
The type of terrorism that gets all the press these days kills a bunch of people, creates shock, horror, etc. Ultimately leads to fear.
In a war, though, that's not all that counts. The terrorists have us in a spot where all they have to do is make a threat, and we fall all over ourselves defending against that threat. No matter the unlikelihood of the threat or the impracticality or cost of defending against it. That's leverage.
We "defeated" the Soviets partly because of the economic cost of having to keep up with us. Now we're on the receiving end of the same treatment, new and improved. We don't just have to keep up with what they can do, we have to keep up with what they might be able to do. They don't need technology, expensive equipment, or large forces. All they need is a semi-plausible threat and our own vivid imaginations to cost us millions in a knee-jerk reaction. They only have to kill people often enough to keep up their credibility.
We're going to continue losing this game until we find a new way to play.
I like your idea, but I don't think it'll go down like that. If it becomes more expensive for the airlines, then they just raise ticket prices. Possibly even adding a flat 'security fee' on to the cost of every ticket. Then they've realized another way to get money from us.
I bet any shops behind the checkpoint are making good money selling 3 Euro bottles of water and 5 Euro sodas.
Someone pointed out that these 'temporary' restrictions often become permanent. I have yet to find a government that ever willingly restored rights and privliges to its people. Maybe if the Libertarian Free State thing takes off, if someone can cite an example proving me wrong I would be grateful.
I am coming back home soon, I am not looking forward to spending 16 hours without my laptop. Especially since I think I'll have work I ought to be doing during the flight and my layover. Thank god I've got some Dostoevsky that should help pass the time.
Slightly somewhat presumptious that all terrorists wear Turbans is this not! More likely to be wearing New York Yankee hats one speculates!
Seriously, humour aside, the propergation of this xenophobic attitude is not going to do anyone any good.
If this is going to be Terrorist Cartoon Week, then I recommend the most recent Bob The Angry Flower.
I was going to suggest that the cartoon Bruce referenced here on 20th June 2005 is quite apposite during the present flap, but the link to it that he used at the time
( http://images.ucomics.com/comics/nq/2005/... )
now returns a 404 not found.
I've just tried to track down a new link to it, but ucomics.com make it too damn annoying for me to persist ("You must have cookies enabled to veiw blah blah blah..." along with a form requesting details of my DOB and gender. Not quite TSA levels of intrusiveness, but simply to get to a link to a cartoon ... well fsck ucomics.com and their advertising and merchandising driven revenue streams, and bugger the skull of the donkey they rode in on.)
For the uninitiated, the cartoon showed a caveman standing on a rock marked "Security Alert" and holding up a card reading "Run in a blind panic", which the other trog's in the cartoon are obeying with alacrity. Other cards beside him read variously: "All clear", "Stay in your cave" and "Hide in a tree". The sign-holder is saying to his companion "OK, it's not perfect, but I'm sure a more efficient and effective system will be developed in the future."
Ipods and Toothpaste. This reminds me of the “Smoking Banana Peels��? movement some time ago. For those too young to remember, a rumor was noised about that banana peels worked like pot to get the government to make a fool out of itself trying to outlaw bananas.
I'm pretty sure that the main reason for the "bananadine" story was as a joke against stoners who would try to smoke banana peels and make themselves ill. It wasn't a joke against the government who might try to make bananas illegal. In those days, people assumed the government was smart enough not to fall for that.
@ctmf - re: economic aspects
I thought we passed this point some time ago, but judging by what I went through last Friday, we're in big trouble on this score. Although - some good points here - the CBC ran and reran a news item on just how hard it is it bring down an airplane this way. They showed lots of pictures of airplanes with holes in their sides that landed after being bombed.
As to the partners in sane security - here's how it is working out. Once liquids are banned from coming through the checkpoint, they have to be banned in the terminal as well. Otherwise, if you sneak one through security, you can't be detected anytime after that. As a result, there are restrictions on the sale of liquids for carry on in the secure area. This hits airport vendors - and most of all, duty-free shops, who are getting clobbered because nobody is allowed to buy liquor, wine, or perfume!
Given that water is still available on the airplane, if someone can figure out how to make guncotton in the bathroom, then they will have to confiscate clothing and ban the sale of t-shirts. Think that might be too far for people to accept?
Chris: You can make an effective gun-cotton explosive from just water and tee shirts?
I think that might be a stretch even for McGuyver. ;-)
However your point is taken, confiscating all fluids, doesn't really mitigate the risk, since it leaves so many other risks unmitigated.
Heck, just opening an emergency pressurized cabin door at a critical point like during takeoff/landing might be as risky as some of the explosives they are trying to prevent.
@ Freiheit said:
Someone pointed out that these 'temporary' restrictions often become permanent. I have yet to find a government that ever willingly restored rights and privliges to its people...
The US actually did just that early on. The Alien and Sedition acts were allowed to expire. Not that that act should ever have been passed in the first place, and not that simply allowing it to expire was any great promotion of freedom, and not that I think there are enough parallels between then and now to give me any sense of hope, but, it did happen at least once in human history.
Guncotton would require the t-shirt, and water as part of an *acid*. You couldn't bring acid in liquid form in a container; perhaps a faked up battery could hold the acid -- even using it to run as a battery long enough to power on a device during the security check.
Ok - there's my movie plot! Make gun cotton from a white t-shirt, a bottle of water, and the battery from your laptop. Do all this in the bathroom sink on board the airplane. Make a fuse from a twist of cloth and a bit of the guncotton, and make a primitive grenade - ignite the fuse with the last spark of the battery, drop it down the toilet, and blow the holding tank out of the bottom of the airplane. (Make sure you can do all this in the five minutes you are in the bathroom....). Return to your seat if the airplane is still flying.
For maximum effect, do this over the reservoir of a major city. If you can do it undetected during flight, then you can cause an epidemic with the sewage in the holding tank. They will know he holding tank is gone, but they might not know *where*.
To deal with this, passengers will be subject to video monitoring while in the bathroom on the flight, or they will have to leave all clothes and possessions outside the bathroom door.
Nonsense. Making gun cotton needs always nitric acid, which is neither found in a laptop battery nor any household chemical. (See e.g. Wikipedia for ingredients.)
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