US, UK say laptops could hide bombs, cyber-attack could disrupt nuclear power stations

US and UK intelligence officials fear that ISIL, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have developed techniques to bypass airport screening in the US and Europe. As a result, travelers from high-risk Middle Eastern countries will be banned from carrying laptops, iPads and other large electronic devices on flights to the US and UK, officials have announced.

Officials believe electronic devices can be used to hide explosives that can be switched on and off to get through security. Concerns that terrorists could still attack airports and nuclear power stations in the UK have led to a series of cross-country alerts to prevent a large-scale cyber-attack that could disrupt normal activity and affect workers and the community.

“Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in electronics,” the US Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. “The US government continually reassesses existing intelligence and collects new intelligence. This allows us to constantly evaluate our aviation security processes and policies and make enhancements when they are deemed necessary to keep passengers safe.”

The UK government also believes terrorists can take advantage of vulnerabilities in the nuclear industry’s infrastructure to skirt security systems. Nuclear power stations are encouraged to increase security and “remain resilient to evolving cyber threats”. These ever-changing threats have driven the government to invest £1.9 billion in its cybersecurity strategy and devise a five-year Civil Nuclear Cyber Security Strategy.

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