The world is likely to face a major cyber terrorism attack within the next two years, David Lacey, director of security at the Post Office has warned.
Lacey said developments in network technology, coupled with the growth of organised crime, pointed to a major global incident by 2006.
"Five or six years ago I predicted an electronic Pearl Harbour by 2005/2006. I stand by that prediction," he told a conference on business continuity last week.
Lacey said the risks faced by businesses would peak over the next year as key technologies start to mature. "We have much more dependence on e-business. The stakes are getting much higher. The security of e-business has to be very much higher than traditional business," he said.
The replacement of traditional telecoms with voice over IP would leave organisations more vulnerable to electronic attack, as both voice and data run on the same networks, Lacey warned.
In addition, he said the increasing connectivity of organisations would provide hackers with new routes to attack organisations.