The secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has ordered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement enhanced security checks at certain overseas airports, specifically those that have direct flights to the United States. Under the enhanced measures all electronic devices, including Android smartphones and tablets, will be screened by security officers.  As part of the security examination, officers may ask you to power up your device to check that it is real and that the battery hasn’t been replaced with something nasty. According to a press statement released by the TSA, devices which fail to power up “will not be permitted onboard the aircraft.”

Android phones made by Samsung and iOS phones made by Apple are being singled out during the checks.

The BBC is reporting that the new security measures are a response to a terror threat, but there are no official details. However security experts are suggesting that the new measures have been activated due to intelligence that Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could evade airport security. The BBC have been told that London’s Heathrow was among the airports with the new checks.

Although the US does not directly control airports like Heathrow, airlines are obliged to meet security standards set by the TSA, otherwise they will be banned from operating direct flights into America. According to Reuters, Android phones made by Samsung and iOS phones made by Apple are being singled out during the checks. This makes sense as they are the most ubiquitous and therefore the most ordinary looking.

So if you are flying to the USA, make sure your devices are charged and be ready to power them on if you are asked to during a security check.


Gary Sims
Gary has been a tech writer for over a decade and specializes in open source systems. He has a Bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems. He has many years of experience in system design and development as well as system administration, system security and networking protocols. He also knows several programming languages, as he was previously a software engineer for 10 years.