Last week, an employee error caused the monitors at LAX to display a building evacuation order:
At a little before 9:47 p.m., the message read: “An emergency has been declared in the terminal. Please evacuate.” An airport police source said officers responded to the scene at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, believing the system had been hacked. But an airport spokeswoman said it was an honest mistake.
I think the real news has nothing to do with how susceptible those systems are to hacking. It’s this line:
Castles said there were no reports of passengers evacuating the terminal and the problem was fixed within about 10 minutes.
So now we know: building evacuation announcements on computer screens are ineffective.
She said airport officials are looking into ways to ensure a similar problem does not occur again.
That probably means that they’re going to make sure an erroneous evacuation message doesn’t appear on the computer screens again, not that everyone doesn’t ignore the evacuation message when there is an actual emergency.
Posted on May 8, 2013 at 6:32 AM •
Three streets were closed and people evacuated from the area as the search was carried out. After locating the source at about 7pm, emergency crews smashed their way into the Thai Cottage restaurant in D’Arblay Street only to emerge with a 9lb pot of smouldering dried chillies.
Baffled chef Chalemchai Tangjariyapoon, who had been cooking a spicy dip, was amazed to find himself at the centre of the terror scare.
“We only cook it once a year—it’s a spicy dip with extra hot chillies that are deliberately burned,” he said.
“To us it smells like burned chilli and it is slightly unusual. I can understand why people who weren’t Thai would not know what it was but it doesn’t smell like chemicals. I’m a bit confused.”
Were this the U.S., that restaurant would be charged with terrorism, or creating a fake bomb, or anything to make the authorities feel better. On the other hand, at least the cook wasn’t shot.
EDITED TO ADD (10/4): Common sense:
The police spokesman said no arrests were made in the case.
“As far as I’m aware it’s not a criminal offense to cook very strong chili,” he said.
EDITED TO ADD (10/11): The BBC has a recipe, in case you need to create your own chemical weapon scare.
Posted on October 3, 2007 at 10:28 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.