ISIS is poised to strike aeroplanes and airports by infiltrating flight crew and using Google Maps, a report has warned.
Spain’s Centre against Terrorism and Organised Crime (Citco) warned of fresh dangers to travellers in a new report entitled ‘Terrorist Threat Against Civil Aviation’.
The report’s authors identified three areas of vulnerability to aviation security: the use of drones, Takfiris who have infiltrated airport personnel and use of the Google Maps.
Citco, the main agency collating information and data from the Spanish Interior Ministry, wrote: "ISIS, with its recent bombings in Brussels and Istanbul, has shown that any country may be targeted, including Spain, and especially those countries where tourism is important."
The advance in technology is enabling terrorists to flesh out their plans by enabling access to airport layouts and security systems.
Google’s mapping tools allows various views of locations world wide, from maps, aerial views and street view - a virtual tour.
Citco said: "The can make use of the tools offered by the internet to perform planning tasks with common tools such as Google Maps itself.
“Through this application anyone can get high-quality images of airport grounds, avoiding the risk of being detected in routine surveillance prior to the crime.”
The rise in the use of drones is labelled as the biggest threat to planes by anti-terror organisations.
The unmanned and remote-controlled crafts are easily capable of “shooting down a plane from the outside”, the report claims.
It said: "The scenario that currently offers the greatest vulnerabilities is the use of unmanned devices of small dimensions to reach a plane in flight.
“Its malicious use is a risk for both air navigation and the security of citizens and critical infrastructures.”
And while Citco acknowledges the difficulty ordinary passengers face when trying to access restricted areas, particularly carrying any explosives or devices, there is a continued threat from staff members.
Experts are wary of Takfiris working within the aviation industry, as they would be able to gain access and bypass ordinary controls.
The report said presence of infiltrated Takfiris among airline personnel “would facilitate the introduction of explosives in restricted areas”.
In March this year three coordinated suicide bombers detonated their devices inside Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and at Molenbeek metro station, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.