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Wi-Fi terror menaces Vancouver

City cops braced for laptop jihad

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International terrorists with a grudge against the winter sports community are believed to be clearing their diaries in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, to be held in Vancouver.

It is feared that the miscreants may be plotting nefarious uses for the city's mooted free/low-cost wireless network.

The Vancouver Sun reports that much of the municipal infrastructure is to make use of the proposed net, including "gas meters, bus services...and traffic signals", hinting at a possible Italian Job-style gridlock caper.

The Vancouver police are worried, too. Computer crime investigator Detective Mark Fenton is quoted as saying: "Putting those vital links on the same network, you are opening yourself up to terrorist attack...it's not just conceivable, it has happened." Fenton works for the computer investigative support unit of the city's financial crimes section.

Some security specialists are also alarmed, with the Vancouver Sun quoting British Columbia-based net security specialist O J Jonasson, who said "a concerted terrorist effort is a real concern...it's like 9/11".

Other security heavyweights, however, displayed a more blasé attitude. Bruce Schneier called the Wi-Fi catastrophe warnings a "movie plot threat", and "impressive idiocy". He stated that Fenton is "overestimating how important the 2010 Winter Olympics is".

However, Detective Fenton said: "If you have an open wireless system across the city, as a bad guy I could sit on a bus with a laptop and do global crime."

The Vancouver Sun endorsed this, posting a picture of a man with a laptop to warn the public. It was captioned "anyone with a laptop and wireless access could commit a terrorist act, police warn".

Even the most sceptical analyst couldn't argue with that. ®

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