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  • Congressional Hearing: Raise EMP Awareness Now

    On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies will hold a hearing on the consequences of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack.

    This is a good first step to raise awareness about the issue. An EMP, a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by a rapid acceleration of charged particles, would disrupt, damage, or destroy all modern, unhardened electronic devices. Planes would fall from the sky. Most cars would be inoperable. Cell phones, TVs, and computers would not work. Water, sewer, and electrical networks would fail. Banking, energy, transportation, food production and delivery, emergency services, and even cyberspace would collapse—all at the same time.

    The most effective means of delivering an EMP attack is to detonate a nuclear weapon at a high altitude. China and Russia have weapons specifically designed to deliver an EMP. More than 30 countries around the world—including Iran and North Korea—have ballistic missile technologies, a key enabler in conducting the attack. U.S. adversaries with long-range ballistic missile capability can reach the homeland in a mere 33 minutes. This is why a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system is an essential component in countering the threat of an EMP attack.

    Radio-frequency weapons can also cause smaller-scale EMPs, but they have to be detonated close to the grid of a device that the attacker intends to destroy. In addition, solar flares (or “space weather”) can create an EMP and damage satellites and electric systems on the earth.

    The Heritage Foundation recently called for a National EMP Awareness Day, which, in addition to congressional hearings, would be a good starting point for drawing more attention to this important issue. In addition to expanding U.S. missile defense program, the Administration should develop a National Recovery Plan to recommend post-attack recovery steps and protect and harden the nation’s cyber infrastructure, which is essential for coordinating crisis responses effectively.

    The U.S. possesses technologies to address the EMP threat and should put them to a good use before it is too late.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    One Response to Congressional Hearing: Raise EMP Awareness Now

    1. Arran says:

      The possibility of an EMP attack by a foreign power or possibly a terrorist group is why I am greatly alarmed with the current and reckless stampede towards creating "Smart" electrical grids. You literally have millions of "smart" electrical meters, routers, and other wireless equipment being connected to the power grid making it not only more vulnerable to a cyber attack but also more vulnerable to solar flares and a man made EMP attack. Much of this same equipment is being manufactured in China or with Chinese components, who are notorious for creating back doors around security measures for the benefit of the Chinese Government.
      There are so called "Security" consultants working for utility companies but what exactly are their credentials? Who sets the standards of what constitutes a cyber security consultant or what they are supposed to examine? One consultant that they had on a radio program in my area of the world, in British Columbia, spent more time espousing about the wonders and promise of the "Smart" grid. He basically repeated sales propaganda, verbatim, from the smart meter manufacturer, Itron, rather then answering hard security questions posted by the callers. Not once would he entertain any possibility that this technology could be vulnerable simply spouting off meaningless tecno PR style buzz words, but at the same time he refused to guarantee in writing that B.C Hydro's smart grid would be 100% secure. The possible problem of an EMP attack was not even mentioned, and since these meters are wireless devices containing low voltage microelectronics, if they are not vulnerable to EMP then nothing else is. Since this security consultant claimed to have carried out similar work for other power companies one would have to assume that his company has more or less made a career out of selling meaningless stamps of approval to smart grid projects.

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