Cyber-terror is here for real:
Security agents are confronting a new threat - teams of computer hackers aiming to maximise the death toll in armed attacks by paralysing the emergency rescue services.
Since the 11 September attacks, police and intelligence officials have been forced to add a new dimension to their planning: groups of highly skilled 'cyber-terrorists'.
'The first cyber-terrorism attack will most likely not be somebody targeting a company. What we will see is a blended, or multi-prong attack,' said Richard Starnes, director of incident response for British telecom firm Cable & Wireless and an adviser to Scotland Yard's Computer Crime Unit.
A potential scenario might be this: A truck carrying explosives races towards the main entrance of a city centre rail station at rush hour, just as a computer whiz hacks into the emergency response telephone network.
There is a huge blast. With the communications system knocked out, police and rescue units are paralysed. Emergency teams lose precious minutes attending to the scene and the toll of dead and injured climbs.
This type of chain of events was, until recently, spoken about in hypothetical terms. Now, police forces and intelligence agencies around the world say it's not a matter of if, but when."