Fake Boarding Passes

The NY Times had a story about a grad student at Indiana University who created a web site with a fake Northwest Airlines boarding pass. Designed so that families could print out the fake pass get past the TSA check-points to see off or greet their loved ones, it got him in hot water: a cease and desist letter from TSA and an FBI raid of his home.

Obviously, the pass couldn’t be used to board a plane, but it sure points out the foolishness of this ID-plus-boarding-pass check at airports these days. I’ve noticed it’s common to have two different people do a check, in the same line, thirty feet apart.

Security experts note that the fake pass ploy is obvious and surely would have been thought of long ago by bad guys, so this is nothing surprising. In fact, one security consultant said he’d get rid of this useless checking altogether–and get rid of secret no-fly lists too–and spend the money on well-trained, plain-clothes agents milling around airports looking for suspicious activities. He said airport current checks are designed only to “catch the sloppy and the stupid.”