TSA Admits Bungling of Airport Body-Scanner Radiation Tests

The Transportation Security Administration is re-analyzing the radiation levels of X-ray body scanners installed in airports nationwide, after testing produced dramatically higher-than-expected results.

The TSA, which has deployed at least 500 body scanners to at least 78 airports, said Tuesday the machines meet all safety standards and would remain in operation despite a “calculation error” in safety studies. The flawed results showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

At least one flier group, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights, is urging the government to stop using the $180,000 machines that produce a virtual-nude image of the body until new tests are concluded in May.

via TSA Admits Bungling of Airport Body-Scanner Radiation Tests | Threat Level | Wired.com.

For those unfamiliar with the knee-jerk reactions that got all this stuff off the ground, here’s a quick refresher…

[Former TSA Chief Michael] Chertoff’s clients have prospered in the last two years, largely through lucrative government contracts, and The Chertoff Group’s assistance in navigating the complex federal procurement bureaucracy is in high demand. One example involves the company at the heart of the recent uproar over intrusive airport security procedures — Rapiscan, which makes the so-called body scanners. Back in 2005, Chertoff was promoting the technology and Homeland Security placed the government’s first order, buying five Rapiscan scanners.

After the arrest of the underwear bomber last Christmas, Chertoff hit the airwaves and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post advocating the full-body scanning systems without disclosing that Rapiscan Systems was a client of his firm. The aborted terror plot prompted the Transportation Security Agency to order 300 machines from Rapiscan.

[full story]

So far the number of terrorists caught by this technology: 0.

Number of U.S. Amendments it violates: At least 1.

Google Chrome lives up to namesame, stays unblemished, unpwned.

Looks like there’s a very clear winner here for those interested in safe and secure browsing..

For a third straight year, Google’s Chrome browser has gone unhacked at a yearly event aimed at exposing the security flaws of today’s modern browsers. The Mountain View, Calif. search company put its money where its mouth was too: last month it offered $20,000 to the first team able to hack the company’s browser.

Pwn2Own is part of the CanSecWest security conference, held yearly by HP TippingPoint. Contestants are tasked with hacking each of the major browsers — Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome — and the first teams to do so not only win a $15,000 cash prize but also the computer they hacked the browser on.

Cracking Chrome might have proved too difficult. The browser uses what is called a “sandbox,” which isolates system processes. In order for a crack to be successful, first the sandbox must be cracked, and then the exploit code itself executed. Hackers may have seen this as too time intensive, opting instead to attempt easier hacks.

Other browsers were not as lucky. Internet Explorer and Safari were both hacked rather easily on Wednesday. Safari was hacked in a matter of seconds using an unpatched flaw — even after a security update had been released hours before the contest — and Internet Explorer was taken down by a trio of hacks.

via Google pwns: Chrome goes untouched at hacking confab | Security News – Betanews.