Cyber-security experts have warned of Australia’s vulnerability to digital terrorism – even to the point of hacking water or traffic infrastructure.
Israeli military scientist Professor Isaac Ben-Israel was labelled an alarmist when he warned his own government more than 20 years ago of the dangers of digital attacks.
However, he told A Current Affair, terrorism has continued to evolve.
“We are surrounded by computer chips and each one of them is vulnerable to cyber-attack,” he said.
“Potentially they can do almost everything – shut off the electricity, water supply.
“Almost preventing anything that we do in our lives because everything is controlled by computers.”
Prof Ben-Israel said the world was not prepared enough to protect against digital terror.
He warned Australia was exposed to attacks on critical infrastructure, intelligence theft, economical spying or even the disruption of elections.
Australian expert and Internet of Things founder Eitan Bienstock said attackers could cause chaos simply by hacking into a city’s traffic lights to turn them all green at once.
“It does raise the bar on the threat that we are exposed to,” he said.
However, he said Australia was doing “a lot” to combat the threat.
“It’s a worldwide problem from the Americans, to Asia, to Israel,” he said.
“We all need to collaborate…like we collaborate in intelligence, defence and security, cyber-security is no different.”