Security-related questions

Michael Leone turgon at
Sun Apr 27 21:21:17 UTC 2008

Ignazio Palmisano wrote:
> Bill Parr wrote:
>> I travel internationally quite frequently - boarding at least 4
>> international flights per month in a variety of countries, most months more
>> - and haven't had to even open my laptop in at least 5 years. 5 years or
>> more ago I was often ask to just open my computer - to in effect demonstrate
>> that either the boot screen came up, or (if I had put it to sleep) that it
>> was capable of being started.
>> Bill Parr
> Well my laptop has been sniffed twice with some strange tool that I 
> guess was meant to analyze particles in case I packed a bomb in my hard 
> drive... this happened in a UK airport, and I guess the reason the 
> machine was treated so was that in one case I was carrying two laptops 
> and in another case a huge amount of cables, small devices and blah... I 
> actually had to turn the pc on only once, in a small italian airport 
> where the guards were probably getting so bored by the small amount of 
> real work they had to do that they wanted to kill a couple of minutes... 
>   again, no login required :) cloning the drive? They wouldn't have been 
> able to tell the difference between my mac and my windows box... not 
> that it's their job, either...

Yeah, I seriously doubt that any front line screener knows enough to 
clone a drive. Besides, the laptop is out of your sight for only a few 
seconds, really, while it goes through an X-Ray machine. Otherwise, at 
most, you can keep an eye on it while it's on the conveyor belt.

You'd need at best a few minutes to clone your drive, which they would 
almost certainly have to do in some other other enclosed room - more 
time to get there.

If they've really separated you from sight of your belongings for that 
long, you've got a whole lot more to be worried about. And if they 
suspect that you are deliberately obfuscating your files, at that point, 
I'd start praying ...


> I.
>>   _____  
>> From: kubuntu-users-bounces at
>> [mailto:kubuntu-users-bounces at] On Behalf Of Jonathan Jesse
>> Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 8:49 PM
>> To: Kubuntu Help and User Discussions
>> Subject: Re: Security-related questions
>> For all these people compalining about border guards and TSA agents and
>> everything searching a computer's hard drive, how often are you actually
>> traveling?  I am through an airport every other week and sometimes 3 or 4
>> times through an airport in one week and yet have had a security guard open
>> up my laptop let alone force me to login etc.... Just trying to put that
>> into perspective with what you hear.  I am routinely "randomly selected" for
>> more intensive screening as well, but still no one has stolen my laptop,
>> turned it or forced me to login.
>> Keep the paranoia down slightly (unless you have something to hide)
>> Jonathan

Michael J. Leone                  Registered Linux user #201348
<mailto:turgon at>

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