By DAVE MASTERS
26 Oct 2007
TERRORISTS of the future will use the Internet to wage attacks and wreak
havoc across the globe, according to a US terror expert.
Former US army intelligence chief Dan Verton believes the next
generation of Al Qaeda will be clever, net-savvy youngsters.
And he fears it will take a crippling attack on the scale of 9/11 before
world leaders act and realise what a sleeping beast the web is.
He said: "The next generation of terrorists won't be mindless hordes of
thugs living a hand-to-mouth existence in Afghanistan.
"They will look and act very differently to the current generation.
"The young kids that they are radicalising today are studying
mathematics, computer science and engineering.
"They will grow up and realise 'I'm too valuable to stuff dynamite
around my waste and walk into a crowded cafe.'
"And they will think very differently about how they can attack their
"The internet will be another tool in their toolbox."
Former Marine Corps chief Verton - who has written a number of books on
the subject - has given speeches to the Department of Homeland Security,
FBI, US Secret Service and the United Nations about cyber terrorism.
And he reckons it's only a matter of time until the web fanatics strike.
"An attack of this nature is very likely because the technology base is
already there to take advantage of," he said.
"All you need is Microsoft Windows and a public internet connection.
"The only reason we haven't seen one yet is because they haven't put
together an operation with the people in the right places at the moment.
"My big worry is that the next time we see a power failure or the lights
flicker on the Tube or subway, that won't be the end of it.
"They will try to use power failures to get people trapped in locations
where they will be sitting ducks for a follow-up attack in the
There are safeguards in place today to stop hackers taking over the
country's vital systems.
But Verton believes that the new breed of terrorist will be able to
navigate their way around them.
He added: "All of our critical infrastructure depends on a computer
that's hooked up to a network
"If you can take either of those down and you have major problems."
Verton says the problem in the US has been getting big business to foot
the bill of billions needed to develop the software to cover against
such an eventuality.
And he is calling on the UK government to act now and not follow the
He added: "If I knew our governments and the people who own and operate
these systems were doing all that was necessary to secure them I'd be
OK, but I don't think it's happening.
"They don't see the threat because it hasn't happened yet - and that's
why we're at our weakest right now."
* Dan Verton was the cyber terrorism expert for Die Hard 4.0. The DVD is
out now. - http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000VNMMRA/c4iorg
CSI 2007 is the only conference that delivers a business-focused
overview of enterprise security. It will convene 1,500+ delegates,
80 exhibitors and features 100+ sessions/seminars providing a
roadmap for integrating policies and procedures with new tools
and techniques. Register now for savings on conference fees
and/or free exhibits admission. - www.csiannual.com