Adacore wrote:Diadem wrote:So I take a laptop, throw out everything inside the case, put in a mobile phone connected to the laptop screen, running windows 7, and fill the rest of the laptop with explosives. Perhaps too high-tech for your average terrorist, but it seems to me it's entirely feasible.
I do think you are right. They merely seem to want to check that the laptop / phone is real. I just wonder if this is in any way an adequate test.
Probably feasible, but you'd have to test the design quite a bit to make it look at least reasonably laptop-like on an x-ray scan.
In the late 1990s, you could generally skip sending an electronic device through the X-ray by submitting it to manual inspection, presumably because convincing people that X-rays wouldn't damage it wasn't considered worth the bother. And manual inspection would consist of the same practice we're discussing of turning on a device to make sure it's real.
Once in that time frame, when I was traveling with an associate who had a laptop, he skipped sending it through the X-ray, and security asked him to turn it on. He did so, and then turned it off during the Windows 95 splash screen. As we walked out of earshot, I quietly but casually commented that that was a really poor test because you could trivially replace the CD-ROM with explosives and/or get a laptop with two battery bays and replace one with explosives, and slightly less trivially flash the BIOS with a simple mock-up of the Windows 95 splash screen and replace the hard drive with explosives. He gave me a look, and said that I'd probably do a good job of blowing up an airplane.
This conversation would be a horrible idea nowadays, of course. Of course, even then I did not argue with security in this manner.