In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the US, the media has been awash with articles painting a "chilling picture" of the possible threat of cyber-terrorism.
Reports like those posted on the BBC website, which claim that cyber-attacks could wreak havoc on a whole country and even amount to an "Electronic Pearl Harbour", have been dismissed as speculation and hysteria by experts.
"To suppose that national utilities and infrastructure could be taken out by cyber terrorists, is, quite frankly, bollocks," said Neil Barrett, security consultant at Information Risk Management.
"Of course, it's possible that you hack into the systems controlling the water supply, but it would be so difficult to make any disastrous changes without being noticed," he said.
"Hacking into utilities networks is much harder than putting a bomb somewhere," Barrett added.
"Terrorists are bad, but they're efficient. And it's not as though there's a secret button hidden somewhere on the Thames Water website admin interface with 'dump anthrax' written on it," he said.
Another security firm, @stake, posted a report about the recent cyber-terrorism speculation in the media.
"It seems likely that we will continue to hear various 'what-if' scenarios from experts and non-experts alike, and many will wonder what to worry about first," it said.
The report then suggested that the worst that could happen is what we've already faced - email worms, denial of service attacks and malicious data modification.
"We already know that these can be done pretty easily. But none of us has ever seen a cyber-attack take out a large section of the power grid," said @stake.
The experts tend to play down the threat of devastating cyber-attacks on our national utility infrastructure, casting them more as a knee-jerk reaction.
"All this is theoretically possible," said Barrett, "but woefully inadequate. In the end, terrorists use a tried and tested method."
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