New Body Scans at Airport Security See Through Clothes

Which would you prefer at the airport security check: a pat down or a "whole body imaging scan" that provides a highly detailed image of all your, um, curves (but does have your face blurred to protect your identity)?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been testing out these devices, called millimeter wave machines, at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport and this week is adding the machines to Los Angeles International Airport and New York City's John F. Kennedy International.

The TSA says that during the test in Phoenix, 90 percent of travelers preferred the scan to having a full body pat down. The TSA agent viewing the image from one of the devices will be in a separate booth and will not be able to see the traveler's face in order to maintain privacy. After the image has been checked it won't be stored, according to the TSA.

Even so, are these images invasive? What about privacy concerns?According to the TSA blog, "These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader's Digest and not offend anybody."

The TSA also claims the machine emits 10,000 times less energy than a cell phone transmission.

You can see how the body image is captured in a video here and also watch a demonstration of the actual machine in motion here.

Millimeter wave machines are already in use at airports in Britain, Spain, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Thailand and the Netherlands. [Source CNN]

One hack of a phone bill

At least one Australian company every day falls victim to telephone hackers, who rack up an average bill of $78,000, a national telephone security expert said yesterday.

But David Stevens, managing director of Telecoms Security, said most businesses did not realise how easy it was until too late.

Australian Federal Police last night confirmed they were working with their international counterparts to stop hackers hitting Australian businesses, after it was revealed that criminals had penetrated the phone systems of at least two Melbourne companies in recent weeks.

The scam is allegedly being carried out by overseas manufacturers of international phone cards commonly used by students and tourists to make cheap calls.

The card manufacturers are believed to then hack into unsuspecting company's phone systems, known as a private automatic branch exchange (PABX), so the calls made by card users get charged to unsuspecting victims of the scam.

The Camberwell Electrics Superstore and Swinburne University have both been hit with collective phone bills of more than $100,000 of overseas calls. Camberwell Electrics' accountant Chris Koh said the company had been alerted when Telstra called it to ask why they had made $20,000 in overseas calls in less than two weeks.

"The calls were made to Romania, other parts of Eastern Europe, India, Russia and Asia out of office hours," Mr Koh said.

He said the hackers had bypassed codes, passwords and other security systems. Computers ran through combinations in milliseconds until they found the right one to exploit.

A Swinburne University spokeswoman said the university knew nothing of the scams until it received an $80,000 phone bill.

The university's chancellery executive director, Michael Thorne, said the charges related to phone numbers the organisation did not own.

Both companies are fighting Telstra over the bills.

But Mr Stevens said that while most companies took extra steps to protect their IT security from hackers, many left their telephone systems - both traditional PABX systems and modern VoIP systems - vulnerable.

He said telephone hacking was a lot more common than most people realised, and the onus was on businesses to protect themselves.

"Our figures show that one Australian company is being hacked every single day," he said.