An EMP attack, even on a local level, could do major damage and there is no way to protect the power grid and the computer systems from it without
spending big $$$ to harden them against electromagnetic radiation.
I read an article about 4 years ago that described how to make an EMP device with off the shelf components for $400.00 that could take out anything
electronic for a couple of miles. The device could also be easily scaled up by just throwing more money at it. The only difficult item to acquire for
it is a small amount of high explosive like C4. But the amount of C4 needed is small enough that smuggling it in or stealing it wouldn't be too big a
Another way to take out all the electric and electronic gear in a large area is with a nuke set off high in the upper atmosphere. Even with small
crude nukes like Iran is most likely to develop it would only take 2 or 3 of them to send the entire country back to the iron age.
Since we are not back in the cold war era the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) scenario no longer applies. Any large terrorist group or small
country, or even a big country wanting to become the dominant power, could launch such an attack from just outside our territorial waters from cargo
ships and with relatively cheap SCUD missiles and we could do nothing to stop them. The problem is that even if we did have a missile shield defense
system in place they are designed to take out missiles on a ballistic arc on the downward part of the curve. However, an EMP device is set off at the
peak of the arc and there is no downward side to the arc. The reason for the down curve hit is that with even a small head start it is nearly
impossible for a chase missile to catch up to a missile under acceleration before it reaches it's peak and starts to descend.
But we may not have to wait for a terrorist group to do it. If a solar flare of the magnitude of the
1859 were to be repeated today it could wipe out the entire power grid and unhardened electronics on, at the very least, one whole half of the planet.
In 1859 the solar flare known as the Carrington Event was so powerful it burned out telegraph lines and started fires in telegraph offices where the
lines terminated. The same, or worse, today would completely fry all the satellites, electrical lines and transformers and electronics such as
computers, phones, car electrical systems, emergency services radio communications and a whole lot more. Just one of the monstrous transformers used
at power generating stations would take, under the best of conditions, 6 months to a year to manufacture. If just the whole United States and parts of
Canada and Mexico were to be affected it would take several years to make enough new equipment to get the power back online. Then it wouldn't help
much since most of the things that ran off of electricity would also have to be replaced or rebuilt.
Such an event would have people in large cities killing each other for a half can of rotting cat food in under two weeks.
There is so much more to it than what I just posted that to fully understand the problem with a full scale EMP attack or a massive solar flare you
need to read the Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United
States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack
available at the link in PDF format.
edit on 15-11-2012 by happykat39 because: