[ISN] Security 'scare' for Qantas

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon May 24 03:20:56 EDT 2004

Forwarded from: Darren Reed <darrenr at reed.wattle.id.au>

Note: This article is not about information security at all but it is
a story about someone who has pulled a prank in order to demonstrate
the laxness of airline/airport security.  What I think is important is
to observe the reactions of the authorities, in addition to the
airline.  I think this is important because too many people pass off
doing port scanning, etc, as being of benefit to others - be able to
demonstrate a weakness.  What's likely to be the end outcome?  No
metal cutlery in airline loungs :-/


Knives out for 'goat' Rex Hunt
By Lyall Johnson, Andrew Webster
May 16, 2004

He called it a "light-hearted prank" to highlight flaws in security at
Australia's airports but television and radio showman Rex Hunt only
narrowly escaped federal criminal charges yesterday after smuggling 10
metal forks he had stolen from a Qantas lounge onto an aeroplane.

Hunt was branded a "complete goat" after causing a security scare on
the flight from Adelaide to Melbourne when he began showing the forks
around. A concerned passenger who did not recognise Hunt notified a
flight attendant and Australian Federal Police detained him at
Melbourne Airport.

After more than half an hour of questioning, Hunt was released without
charge and made his way - running late - to the MCG to call the
Richmond-Western Bulldogs football match for 3AW.

An AFP spokesman said forks were not classed as weapons under the Air
Navigation Act and that because the detectives were satisfied Hunt had
no intention of committing a violent or dangerous act, he was not
charged.  A spokesman for Qantas said the airline had referred the
theft of the forks to police. Hunt handed the cutlery over but it is
uncertain whether charges will be laid.

The incident began at the check-in at Adelaide Airport, where Hunt
repeatedly set off a security alarm.

Hunt, speaking later on 3AW, claimed he had been "dacked" by airport
security after they requested he take off his belt and shoes.

"My denim jeans were down around my (shoes), my Y-fronts were in full
view . . . I was dacked," Hunt said. "Yeah, it (made me lose it). I
should have taken a breath and said they are only doing their job,
which they are.  (But) I went straight up to Qantas, got a handful of
forks and said, 'I'll just show how easy it is to infiltrate this
tight security I've just been through.' "

During the flight, he showed the forks to a number of passengers,
including Essendon assistant coach Mark Harvey, and told them he was
highlighting security flaws.

However, both a Qantas source and a spokesman for federal Transport
Minister John Anderson claimed Hunt's version of events was not
entirely true.  They claim he had pulled down his trousers when he was
asked to remove his belt at Adelaide Airport. Mr Anderson's spokesman
said: "It is very unfortunate that an airline passenger has chosen to
act like a complete goat . . .  It is also disappointing that a
celebrity seems to believe he is above the law and that regulations
for passenger screening should not apply to him."

A repentant Hunt admitted it was an irresponsible thing to do and "if
I could change it I would". But he added that if his prank led to a
tightening of security, it would be worth it.

He objected to being called a "goat" and demanded an on-air interview
with Mr Anderson's spokesman, who declined. Hunt told his radio
audience that he wished he had not done what he did, saying: "It shook
me, the fact that I was treated by a criminal - and I should have

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