'Terrorists of the future on web'

'Terrorists of the future on web'
'Terrorists of the future on web' 

The Sun
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 
perceived enemies.

"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 
traditional sense."

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 
same path.

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. - 

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