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Britain 'at risk from space attacks' MPs warn


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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

www.telegraph.co.uk said:

Britain's critical national infrastructure could be crippled in a high-altitude space attack by a rogue state or terrorists, MPs have warned.

A nuclear device detonated up to 500 miles above the earth's surface could generate an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) with a "devastating" effect on power supplies, telecommunications and other vital systems, the Commons Defence Committee said.

It warned that countries such as Iran - which is resisting international pressure to end its nuclear programme - and even eventually some "non-state actors" could acquire the technology to mount such an attack, in a scenario akin to the plot of the 1995 James Bond film 'GoldenEye'.

Terrorists could also build a "crude" non-nuclear EMP weapon, with the power to cause disruption over a more limited area.

But despite the vulnerability of the UK to such an attack, the committee accused the Ministry of Defence of appearing "complacent" and "unwilling to take these threats seriously".

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#2    Kryso

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:36 PM

A person could go crazy, going over all the ways we could be attacked! :/


#3    Admiral Rhubarb

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 03:12 PM

Bu

Quote

t despite the vulnerability of the UK to such an attack, the committee accused the Ministry of Defence of appearing "complacent" and "unwilling to take these threats seriously".

Perhaps because all these things seem to come into a simialr category to the Mayan Prophecies; they're always so vague, and what should they be expected to do about it anyway? Pre-emptively attack all Rogue States and Non-State Actors, just in case?
("And the award for best Non-State Actor goes to....")

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#4    and then

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 12:14 AM

View Post747400, on 22 February 2012 - 03:12 PM, said:

Bu

Perhaps because all these things seem to come into a simialr category to the Mayan Prophecies; they're always so vague, and what should they be expected to do about it anyway? Pre-emptively attack all Rogue States and Non-State Actors, just in case?
("And the award for best Non-State Actor goes to....")
I think the issue is more about hardening or shielding critical systems from being fried by these pulses.  Hospital and emergency power grids/communications and such.  ultimately no way to stop such an attack beyond better antimissile technology.  One thing sure - if the pulse works as well as expected we'd be in one sorry state for a long time.  Horse and buggy anyone?

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#5    skookum

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

I note a lot of the article points towards Iran.  Are we heading towards another WMD dodgy dossier?

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#6    and then

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:01 PM

View Postskookum, on 25 February 2012 - 03:55 PM, said:

I note a lot of the article points towards Iran.  Are we heading towards another WMD dodgy dossier?
Possibly but this issue has actually been around for a long time.  Shielding critical infrastructure costs so no one wants to bother...

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#7    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:47 PM

View Postand then, on 23 February 2012 - 12:14 AM, said:

I think the issue is more about hardening or shielding critical systems from being fried by these pulses.  Hospital and emergency power grids/communications and such.  ultimately no way to stop such an attack beyond better antimissile technology.  One thing sure - if the pulse works as well as expected we'd be in one sorry state for a long time.  Horse and buggy anyone?

To protect against EMP damage electronics needs to be located inside a Faraday Cage.

While that isnt a problem for the military civilian systems are wide open for an attack. An EMP would knock out power supplies, destroy home consumner electronics, fry business computers and erase bank financial records. With electronics being so wide spread its impossible to protect the nation from this kind of attack.

I remember the blackouts in New York and London a few years back. I suspect that was our Governments running preparation exercises. If it did come society would be set back decades.


#8    keithisco

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:02 PM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 25 February 2012 - 04:47 PM, said:

To protect against EMP damage electronics needs to be located inside a Faraday Cage.

While that isnt a problem for the military civilian systems are wide open for an attack. An EMP would knock out power supplies, destroy home consumner electronics, fry business computers and erase bank financial records. With electronics being so wide spread its impossible to protect the nation from this kind of attack.

I remember the blackouts in New York and London a few years back. I suspect that was our Governments running preparation exercises. If it did come society would be set back decades.
Most home electronics are protected this way anyway - to prevent radiation from leaking OUT and interfering with other electronic systems.

It is actually very easy to protect all electronic devices from high energy EMP's, not expensive at all. At its simplest, a Faraday cage is chicken wire wrapped around the item you want to protect and strongly earthed. No mystery, no Rocket Science required. There again, if you are really concerned just make your equipment electrically neutral, and bleed off the charge later.


#9    aquatus1

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 12:42 AM

It is actually an option being offered more and more regularly by contractors, to line the walls with chicken wire inside the drywall.  There is a bit of conflict between that and the IT guys, for whom setting up a Wi-Fi system is made more difficult by this.


#10    and then

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:22 AM

View Postaquatus1, on 26 February 2012 - 12:42 AM, said:

It is actually an option being offered more and more regularly by contractors, to line the walls with chicken wire inside the drywall.  There is a bit of conflict between that and the IT guys, for whom setting up a Wi-Fi system is made more difficult by this.
I can imagine!  In MRI suites the cage is a little more refined.  They use a fine copper mesh in the walls and ceilings but the sensitivity to RF is the issue there.  Telemetry devices as well as radios and cell phones are a no go in these areas.

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#11    aquatus1

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 02:44 AM

That, and I am not sure chicken wire would even be sufficient in the event of an actual crisis level EM event, from whatever source.





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