I was surprised to find this on page 66 of the IEEE Computer (April
1995), but suddenly it seems so topical.
Be Alert: Letters or Packages Can Be Lethal
Personal communication are increasingly electronic these days, thanks
to e-mail, but while e-mail is more immediate, old-fashioned postal
mail is more dangerous. Letter and package bombs are becoming more
sophisticated, as a recent Wall Street Journal article pointed out,
and with sophistication comes increase chance of injury or death.
The serial bomber known as Unabomber, whos most recent letter bomb
killed a Young & Rubicam advertising executive in December, is still
on the loose, and his devices indeed show increase skill. The
bomber's motivation is not known, but his targets have chiefly been
computer-and airline related. Of particular concern is that several
of his targets have been [IEEE] Computer Societer members or
To protect yourself, you family, and colleagues, be aware of the
following guidelines issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
Possible clues to letter and package bombs:
- When out of the country, never accept mail, especially packages, at
your foreign quarters.
- Make sure family members and clerical staff know to refuse all
unexpected mail at home or office.
- If in doubt, treat the item as suspect: it might be a bomb.
If a suspicious letter or package arrives, do not touch it. Instead,
immediate call your local [RCMP] FBI office, police or fire department,
or the FBI's Explosives Unit and Bomb Data Center at (202) 324-2696.
- Excessive postage
- Excessive weight
- No return address
- Incorrect titles
- Titles but no names
- Misspellings or erratic typing
- Restrictive markings such as Confidential or Personal
- Foreign mail, air mail, and special delivery
- Lopsided or uneven envelope
- Protruding wires or tinfoil
- Visual distractions
- Oily stains or discolorations
- Excessive securing material such as masking tape or string
- Rigid envelope
Amit Parghi (parghi@BanffCentre.AB.CA) pointed out:
Unabomer's style "doesn't fall into many of these categories.
It's usually mailed from the Bay Area or Sacramento, is meticulously
wrapped and finished (he reportedly polishes the finished bomb
casings) and is sent via the postal service. Plus his latest strike
was on Monday [4/24/95] in Sacramento ... The FBI have set up a
Unabomer hotline and a US$1 million reward. Plus he sent out three
letters coinciding with this latest attack ... very strange."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has information on the Unabomber
and the Oaklahoma City Bombing at http://www.fbi.gov/
This is http://www.cs.ubc.ca/spider/harrison/bomb-warning.html.
Maintained by Jason Harrison
Last modified: Thu Aug 24 11:58:52 1995.