Monday, 21 January, 2019

IPad bomb plot helped prompt laptop ban

Sherri Watson | 29 March, 2017, 01:11

The recent US-UK ban of electronic devices on flights from certain countries was inspired by an alleged plot involving explosives hidden in a fake iPad. This meant that passengers traveling with laptops or tablets or other devices had to check them in, although this only applied to those who were traveling from a specific set of countries. One of which, as mentioned previously, was the discovery of a plot to smuggle explosives masked as an iPad inside a plane to bring the whole aircraft down, with the device reportedly appearing as legitimate as the real thing.

According to The Guardian, the intelligence used to justify the United Kingdom flight policy and its U.S. equivalent included references to a terror attack involving a counterfeit copy of Apple's iOS tablet, with explosives hidden inside. The assertion comes from a new report citing "security sources", which claim that the iPad bomb threat became part of "a combination of factors" that led to the controversial bans.

Other details of the plot, such as the date, the country involved and the group behind it, remain secret.

U.S. officials have been investigating how terrorists can disguise explosives as consumer electronics since the 2016 laptop bombing on a flight out of Mogadishu, Somalia, that blew open a hole in the side of the plane, CBS News reported.

When the USA announced the ban of large electronics including tablets and laptops from certain flights, some people believed the measure was simply a result of Trump's unhappiness with the response to his travel bans. The U.K.'s ban is similar, but includes places like Tunisia and Lebanon.

Security concerns over weaponised electronics on airlines have some merit. While the United States also has a ban, countries in Europe, including Germany, have so far failed to follow suit.

The US ban affects flights from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The US Department of Homeland Security said the ban on selected electronic devices was partly the result of terrorists seeking "innovative methods" to attack planes.