Why Airport Security Can't Be Done FAST

Presented at DEF CON 19 (2011), Aug. 5, 2011, 2 p.m. (50 minutes)

Eight years after 9/11 TSA finally decided to fix their security system. But what has really changed? Homeland Security's science division has been busy lately, and is currently polishing up a project called FAST - Future Attribute Screening Technology. FAST, part of project MALINTENT, is a project of the Department of Homeland Security Behavioral Science Unit, which supposedly can detect whether you want to blow up the plane purely based off of biological indicators. While it was originally slated for completion this year, the project has been delayed due to many technical difficulties. Starting to smell snake oil? Basic statistics and common sense agree! Methodological flaws, numerous exploits and better uses of tax dollars will be discussed.


  • Joshua Engelman
    Joshua Engelman is an independent security researcher and amateur mathematician. In his spare time, he volunteers for the ACLU and teaches fencing to small children. His current project is an autonomous beverage retrieval bot for his robotics team. He can be found lurking on the DEF CON forums, in school labs at odd hours, and directly behind law enforcement personnel wearing a monocle and trenchcoat.
  • Morgan Wang
    Morgan Wang is an independent security researcher and analyst, history buff, classically liberal Libertarian, avid knitter and overall crafty person. Her hobbies include impersonating long-dead historical figures and obtaining suspicious amounts of fabric.
  • Semon Rezchikov
    Semon Rezchikov is an independent security researcher, programmer, and wetware hacker. He is spending the summer at MIT making cells do his bidding. In his free time, he can be found messing around with mathematics, playing clarinet, and furiously scribbling thoughts into his handy black notebook.