• United States



Computer Glitch Causes Atlanta Airport Bomb Scare

Apr 21, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

A bomb scare that led to an evacuation of security checkpoints at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport was caused by a “software malfunction,” according to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Director Kip Hawley. reports that a security screener test was being conducted, but software failed to indicate that it was under way when a TSA employee identified an image of a suspicious device.

The airport’s federal security director told CNN that after seeing a suspicious image, the screener notified a supervisor. The two manually checked all the bags on the conveyor, but didn’t find anything resembling the image. The information was passed on to the security director, who authorized grounding all flights and calling the bomb squad.

Security areas were evacuated for two hours so authorities could search for a suspicious device. Travelers could not get to their respective terminals, and incoming and outgoing flights were delayed.

According to Hawley, TSA screeners are given periodic tests to check for alertness and to ensure procedures were followed correctly. However, the airport’s general manager was not satisfied with the method used to notify passengers.

For more on airport and travel safety, read Airport Security’s Achilles Heel.

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By Paul Kerstein