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North Korea Developing Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the don't-you-need-electricity-for-that? dept.

The Military 191

An anonymous reader writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports, 'North Korea is using Russian technology to develop electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralyzing military electronic equipment south of the border, according to South Korea's spy agency. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a report to parliament that the North had purchased Russian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weaponry to develop its own versions. EMP weapons are used to damage electronic equipment. At higher energy levels, an EMP can cause more widespread damage including to aircraft structures and other objects. The spy agency also said the North's leader Kim Jong-Un sees cyber attacks as an all-purpose weapon along with nuclear weapons and missiles, according to legislators briefed by the NIS.'" Let's not forget that North Korea has also achieved nuclear fusion, developed a super drink that can cure aging and disease, and found a "unicorn lair" last year.

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Now we know why there's no electronics in NK (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353345)

It's all part of a plan to destroy the rest of the world by having the only part that doesn't use electronics. Thus they can set off a global EMP without consequence.

Clever of them, isn't it?

Re:Now we know why there's no electronics in NK (4, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#45353391)

Yeah, and they'd have to run an extension cord to South Korean for enough juice to run it in the first place. :P

Re: Now we know why there's no electronics in NK (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354529)

Actually, they are going to use nuclear fusion to power the EMPs to use against the immortal unicorns who stole all the anti-aging super drink.

No electronics in NK anymore (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#45353543)

Imagine the Dear Leader's reaction when his Samsung Galaxy cell phone, Samsung TV and Samsung laptop computer all stop working at the same time: It is a South Korean plot to sabotage the NK!

Re:No electronics in NK anymore (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year ago | (#45353697)

You're funny.. but the truth is much much closer to this.

North Korea is all bluff and bluster. I've never seen a more faithful reenactment of The Animal Farm. There is a ruling class there that has all the shiny toys and entertainment from the "evil" imperialist countries. Why would they ever risk losing their own life styles for ideals that are nothing more than lip service?

Re:No electronics in NK anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353777)

Technically I myself am developing an anti-gravity drive, FTL warp drive, an Immortality Treatment, limitless energy reactor which takes no fuel, power suits, and sharks with frikken lasers. (None of them are past the initial Conceptual stage as of yet, but dammit I'm working on it!)

Re:No electronics in NK anymore (1)

Angeret (1134311) | about a year ago | (#45354519)

Regardless of current development status, all I can say is this Anonymous Coward BEST Anonymous Coward! Take that!! all you false Anonymous Coward.

Re:Now we know why there's no electronics in NK (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353555)

That's why North Korea is Best Korea(c)!

Little known fact - when they play Donkey Kong they use real donkeys. Their gaming industry is impervious to EMP.

Re:Now we know why there's no electronics in NK (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354065)

What?!? There are no donkeys in Donkey Kong! What a backwards place.

Bad idea (4, Funny)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45353349)

Wouldn't an EMP also fry all of the electronics owned by North Korean citizens....oh..wait.

Re:Bad idea (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#45353447)

Now it all makes sense...

Two cats and a wool sweater (4, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about a year ago | (#45353355)

Maybe even some wool socks if they're really pushing things.

Re:Two cats and a wool sweater (3, Funny)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#45353473)

Maybe even some wool socks if they're really pushing things.

Somewhere in translation, it was changed from Massive ESD to a much more threatening Massive EMP.

Think of the fun they could have (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year ago | (#45353373)

As one of few nations in the world capable of functioning effectively without electricity. This could perhaps be the most interesting attack North Korea could ever make. Let's hope someone leaks the loction of the SMH servers to them.

Re:Think of the fun they could have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353403)

'Functioning effectively' is a pretty generous way of putting it.

Re:Think of the fun they could have (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353413)

the "rich" are dead. the rest? whatever.

another victory for science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353375)

Good thing science isn't in Amer'ca's national intrests anymores!! Now Korean progress has no competition!!!

It's all true (5, Funny)

AbRASiON (589899) | about a year ago | (#45353379)

The reality is the anti-aging drink, nuclear fusion and EMP weapons are all byproducts of the biggest find, which was of course the unicorn lair. Technology beyond your wildest dreams, the unicorns have always held it back from us.
I for one hail our North Korean, unicorn riding overlords.

Re:It's all true (3, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#45353467)

As Stile learned, unicorns don't let just anyone ride them. You're likely to be sent off a cliff trying to clutch a fly who plays a harmonica if you dared to molest one in such a way.

Re:It's all true (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#45353649)

A unicorn isn't so tough. Oh sure, it can call on all the deep magics of the land, storms, curses, the whole bit, but the solution is obvious: Take away its magic*—pop!—and now your vaunted unicorn is only a large, strong, intelligent animal that impales people.

* this has not been conclusively proven impossible.

Re:It's all true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354603)

Indeed, that's the true reason they need the EMP device. It turns out strong electromagnetic pulses not only fry electronics, they also disable magic.

No they aren't. (2)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#45353387)

If you want to know what they're up to in Pyong-yang, check out the Bing Maps sat photos of the promenade near the stadium.

map [binged.it]

Re:No they aren't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353733)

Bing? What's a carburetor company doing making maps?

You should use Apple maps instead. At least they know what they're doing.

Re:No they aren't. (2)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#45353829)

I would try it, but I can't seem to find a URL to access it. Do you have a link?

Ewh (1, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year ago | (#45354107)

You use bing?

Re:Ewh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354225)

Bing has a lot of better map imagery for many places.

Re:Ewh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354409)

Are you some sort of whore for google?

Re:Ewh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354595)

Welcome to /. home of google's whores.

Size, range and much hype... (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45353419)

You would need a huge conventional device if you wanted to create the press vision of destructive field at any useful strength over distance.
Real military devices are hardened and ready by design for nuclear related EMP. The Swiss bunkers show planning for such events in the real world at a civilian bunker setting over many, many years.
The other option is a low yield nuclear device with the desired characteristics - again something military devices are hardened and ready by design.
Or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphite_bomb [wikipedia.org] to go after an electrical supply grid.
So the military was always ready.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353441)

They think they're ready. There always seems to be some kinks that need working out when things are put to use in the field. Have there ever been any EMP attacks?

Re:Size, range and much hype... (2)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#45353489)

Publicly? None that I'm aware of and it's an indicator I've been looking to for a while. Small-scale EMP is actually harder to achieve that large-scale. Toss a nuke on a rocket and get above the atmosphere before detonation is good enough for that attack. BTW, GP is correct. The military is far more prepared to handle either small-scale or large. Resetting our devices after such an attack was something I would have had to do, way back when.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354601)

yet when the US tried it above Hawaii nothing really happened (a car might have stopped but that could of been unrelated).

Re:Size, range and much hype... (1)

hibji (966961) | about a year ago | (#45353457)

And I assume that civilian installations are not EMP protected. I think blowing up a few key electrical utility installations can do a great deal of damage. Think a large fraction of the east coast for example without electrical power, and no ability to restore it for at least days if not weeks. I assume these EMP devices are not nuclear, so they would perhaps be easier to smuggle as well.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45353527)

Serbia, Iraq shows that the lights off out and stay off for a while. What can utility crews do? Race back to the supply depo and pick up a limited amount of just in time expensive stock and patch up a section of grid connected what?
As for EMP in the real world - creating a useful field is the unique physics per device size or weight gets strange with expected range focused on military equipment thats shielded...
There is no 'win' with easy with EMP unless you go nuclear to form the EMP. The huge conventional forces needed to create the 'needed' EMP will have more range than the produced EMP.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354625)

you don't need an emp to do that. Just use a rpg, or even a couple of nicely placed sniper shots on the insulators of the outgoing lines, and they will be without power for quite a while.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353487)

A., one of the trends of the last several decades is much greater use of OTS (Off The Shelf) equipment in the military. That is just buying existing commercial equipment without all of the traditional MILSPEC type hardening that would have been done in the past. That has meant much quicker fielding times, and more current technology, but at the cost of much greater vulnerability to EMP and other associated effects. Some recent prime examples would be the tablet PCs the military is deploying, and various low level tactical communications gear. There are others.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45353675)

No more fancy Windows based digital map or point and tap network support? If junk consumer grade "equipment" has really made it much deeper into Western militaries - then LOL and congrats on the political skills of the contractors, their cash flow and marketing teams :)
As for EMP if it worked it would be for sale, been tested in any of the small conflicts and found to be useful and be in mass production.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353715)

Anyone thinking of using an EMP weapon against the US should carefully consider the consequences. It would almost certainly destroy any ability to use Powerpoint in the military, and as a result it is likely that military effectiveness of US forces could easily double.
 

Re:Size, range and much hype... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#45354619)

I salute you my dear sir.

Well said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354939)

Well said, as I wait for powerpoint to load on my work computer, because they used powerpoint for a splash screen to advertise the CFC, when the computer is already failing to log in.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (2)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#45354139)

A., one of the trends of the last several decades is much greater use of OTS (Off The Shelf) equipment in the military. That is just buying existing commercial equipment without all of the traditional MILSPEC type hardening that would have been done in the past. That has meant much quicker fielding times, and more current technology, but at the cost of much greater vulnerability to EMP and other associated effects. Some recent prime examples would be the tablet PCs the military is deploying, and various low level tactical communications gear. There are others.

Yeah and all the Chinese made electronic components in that hardened, MILSPEC gear that the US military use really helps, I'm sure.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (3, Insightful)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#45353821)

North Korea's real weapon is fear. Has been for decades.

South Korea has the world's 15th-largest economy, but it is largely driven by electronics exports [wikimedia.org] . North Korea has been threatening nuclear weapons for so long it's like the boy who cried wolf. The world knows the North is not going to resort to a nuclear strike unless something goes very, very wrong. So it needed a new, more-plausible boogie man. What better, and cheaper, to scare the world into giving it economic aid than the threat of an EMP strike that could cripple the South's economy? It wouldn't set the North back that far, and the world's response would be far less punitive than the response to a nuclear strike.

Of course, it's quite likely the North lacks the ability to deliver an effective EMP weapon, just as it lacks the ability to deliver a nuclear strike on the U.S. But to the masses, its just believable enough thanks to Western media plot devices. Did your parents ever waste electricity leaving a night light on to keep the monsters away from your bed at night? They knew there were no monsters, but it was a small cost compared to having you spend the night in their room. Likewise, the North is betting that the first world governments would rather spend a token amount on aid than waste all their time trying to reassure their citizens that the EMP monster isn't really going to take away their TVs/smartphones/etc.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354241)

North Korea's real weapon is fear.

Fear, and ruthless efficiency. No one expect North Korea.

Re:Size, range and much hype... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#45354905)

Is there any law of physics that prevents making a semiconductor EMP bomb? I mean, we now have photolitho-produced electron accelerators...

This should be encouraged (1)

righteousness (3421867) | about a year ago | (#45353423)

You westerners should be happy. You've outlawed nuclear and chemical weapons, so you should be happy that the enemy is developing a weapon that damages equipment but doesn't directly harm human beings, shouldn't you?

Re:This should be encouraged (2)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#45353499)

Actually, no. Remember that the West developed the Neutron Bomb which destroyed the people and left all that capital for ready use!

Re:This should be encouraged (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45353633)

No country currently has an operational neutron bomb.

Re:This should be encouraged (2)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#45353665)

No-one's actually shown that neutron bombs will work as intended. The high neutron flux would do all kinds of weird shit to building materials. Could make the entire city too radioactive to be useful.

Re:This should be encouraged (4, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#45353743)

They weren't meant for use inside cities anyway. They were for fighting mass tank formations while minimizing the destruction to West Germany. Minimizing, not eliminating: they still had large blast and thermal effects.

Re:This should be encouraged (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#45354141)

No-one's actually shown that neutron bombs will work as intended. The high neutron flux would do all kinds of weird shit to building materials. Could make the entire city too radioactive to be useful.

Thats where you need a cobalt bomb...

Re:This should be encouraged (1)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#45354373)

Nah, cobalt bombs are for entire continents or planets,

Re:This should be encouraged (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353989)

Except that EMP weapons are about as real as unicorns.

It pretty much boils down to this: It is easier to know out a computer with a regular bomb than with an EMP weapon.
Want a lot of electronics gone? Nuke it.

This just in from WikiLeaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353491)

**** TOP SECRET ****
Supreme leader Kim Jong Un hereby commands his best scientists to use
all of their resources to create EMP technology using his SUPER-SECRET
INGENIOUS PLAN:

1. Make "Electric"
2. Make "Magnetic"
3. Pulse them vigorously until the Western oppressors are humbled.

And let's not forget... (5, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | about a year ago | (#45353503)

Let's not forget that North Korea has also achieved nuclear fusion, developed a super drink that can cure aging and disease, and found a "unicorn lair" last year.

And let's not forget that the US has achieved democracy, developed a universal healthcare plan to cure aging and disease, and found WMDs in Iraq.

Our bullshit is more refined but equally pervasive.

Re:And let's not forget... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353573)

>US has achieved democracy

yes she actually has, and after world war II defended it even on other places like western europe (where i am from)

the self loathing of the west (here in europe and in the U.S.), and the constant ridiculing of democracy is striking.

if the motive for such comments is an expression of disappointment with some of the weaknesses of the current democratic system then ok i understand. But if somebody REALLY believes that our democratic system (with all its weaknesses) is "just as bad" as a dictatorship (like in north korea), then i can only suggest to pick up a history book and make a reality check

Re:And let's not forget... (4, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about a year ago | (#45353763)

That the corporate democracy in the USA isn't as bad as a dictatorship doesn't mean it is the golden solution.
No, from all that I can see the USA doesn't have a democracy anymore. It has corporate democracy and that is quite a different beast.

Re:And let's not forget... (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353793)

Governments in the US change through elections by vote of citizens, not by votes of corporate boards. Democracy continues, and the American republic endures.

Re:And let's not forget... (4, Insightful)

margeman2k3 (1933034) | about a year ago | (#45353837)

Governments might be chosen by the people, but it's the corporations who actually influence policy.

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353923)

A wide variety of individuals and groups can influence policy, such as unions, the ACLU, the NRA, American states, foreign governments, and many others.

Any politician that doesn't suit the voters is subject to losing his or her job. Just one example:

Colorado Recall Elections Chill Push for New Gun Laws [go.com]

Re:And let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354735)

> Governments might be chosen by the people, but it's the corporations who actually influence policy.

so? and it's the job of the people to vote for laws that allow what kind of influence is allowed or not. bribery is outlawed, campain contributions subjected to oversight, etc.

what else would you propose in a free society? to disallow owners of companies to make their voice heard? who decides who may take part in the political discourse and who not?

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#45354193)

That the corporate democracy in the USA isn't as bad as a dictatorship doesn't mean it is the golden solution.
  No, from all that I can see the USA doesn't have a democracy anymore. It has corporate democracy and that is quite a different beast.

Not quite; more corporate republic...

Re:And let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353973)

the self loathing of the west (here in europe and in the U.S.), and the constant ridiculing of democracy is striking.

But, but... to NOT loathe yourself and everything from the environment that you hail from, if you are white, is RACISM. </sarcasm>

Re:And let's not forget... (2)

Terrasque (796014) | about a year ago | (#45354607)

The thing I don't like about the US democracy is that it's essentially false dilemma [wikipedia.org] based. Yes, you do have more than two parties, but "everyone knows" that they will never get elected, and you can't let the other side win, so you "have" to vote on one of the two big parties.

How much of a democracy is it when the choice is that limited? It's a soft limit, but still an effective limit.

If North Korea let the people select from, say Kim Jong-un and (while he was alive) Kim Jong-il. Would that then be a democracy? If they technically allowed other people to run for Dear Leader, but manipulated the populace to only consider the two main candidates, would it then be democracy?

Re:And let's not forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354715)

>If North Korea let the people select from, say Kim Jong-un and (while he was alive) Kim Jong-il. Would that then be a democracy?
>If they technically allowed other people to run for Dear Leader,
> but manipulated the populace to only consider the two main candidates, would it then be democracy?

no it still would not be a democracy then for a number of reasons (lack of sound constitution, lack of basic human rights and essential freedoms, lack of independent legal system), and i don't think the analogy you are trying to construct is correct.

listen, if you think there should be more than two parties in your country then all power to you, progress needs to be made of course (though i can tell you in most other countries only the top 2-3 count, anyway, so maybe not overrate that aspect)

but the bottom line is i would not join the chorus that laments the U.S. is just a dictatorship like any other dictatorship. it's untrue, unjust and plays nicely into the hands of the real enemies of free society

Re:And let's not forget... (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about a year ago | (#45353637)

Who said that WMDs were found in Iraq?

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | about a year ago | (#45353769)

Who said that WMDs were found in Iraq?

 

Well, NBC News for one...http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4997808/

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | about a year ago | (#45354267)

Who said that WMDs were found in Iraq?

An American citizen who had been in Syria fighting for the rebels was, on returning to the US, charged with using a 'weapon of mass destruction'. This was an RPG. If thats a WMD then FUCK YEAH WMDs were found in Iraq!

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year ago | (#45353687)

Let's hope that the US never "achieve(s) democracy." Democracy is mob rule. Our Founding Fathers had the forethought to create a Republic to protect us from tyrants who would fool the public into surrendering their freedom. Oh, wait. We have Obama.

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about a year ago | (#45353735)

Thank goodness we have the Koch brothers to protect us from mob rule.

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about a year ago | (#45353809)

Has anyone ever claimed with a straight face that the US has "developed a universal healthcare plan to cure aging and disease"?

I assume you're referring to Obamacare, but even its most strident supporters basically view it as a step in the right direction (i.e. towards single payer). And no one claims single payer (or any other health insurance system) "cures aging" or anything ridiculous like that. Just that's its more cost effective.

There's plenty of ridiculous propaganda employed in the US. Like claiming that the natives didn't understand property so its totally okay that our ancestors stole their land. Or claiming that we saved Europe from two world wars. Or teaching all the evil shit done by the USSR while glossing over what the CIA was doing in that time period.

No need to complain about non-existent propaganda when there's so many real examples. Unless, of course, you were just practicing some propaganda of your own.

Re:And let's not forget... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#45354125)

They never actually claimed any of those things, they were just western propaganda designed to make them look silly. In contrast the US genuinely claimed that Iraq had WMD and started a huge international war effort based on that lie, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process.

Picture of results of first test? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353517)

If they are copying Russian EMP weapons, that might explain something.

I think I found a picture showing the results of one of their tests. [scientificamerican.com]

Re:Picture of results of first test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354295)

Amazing results !

I've seen it before, but now the whole picture make sense...

What are you smoking (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353531)

Given the frivolous nature of the comments on this article thus far it seems that few of you have ever considered the effects of a serious EMP attack on your way of life. The mere fact that NK can put something in orbit means they don't necessarily have to have the tech to deliver it to the us as you would a ballistic missile, but just wait for the oppotune time to de-orbit it. In addition, the US happens to be in a location where the earth's magnetic field can significantly enhance the effect of a NEMP. My admittedly hazy memory says the effect of catastrophic failure of US power infrastructure from a well placed NEMP was 70% of the population due to starvation, rioting and the other horsemen of the apocalypse. In addition, the estimate was decades to restore full services if you even could under such circumstances.

Re:What are you smoking (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year ago | (#45353567)

No, I think 70% of the population will die due to exageration. The other 99% will carry on as usual.

Re:What are you smoking (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#45353707)

Unfortunately EMP is a genuine serious threat, and North Korea poses a potential threat not just to the US, but to Australia, Japan, and other nations as well.

Inside the Ring: North Korean missiles deemed a serious threat to U.S. [washingtontimes.com]
'North Korea's nuclear weapons could hit UK': Alarm at David Cameron's claim [mirror.co.uk]

An EMP Could Cripple the U.S. [heritage.org]

An EMP is a torrent of electromagnetic energy that disrupts and destroys electronic devices within an affected area. As a result of such an event, most electrical devices would fail, most cars would cease functioning, airplanes would fall from the sky, and critical infrastructure—such as water and sewers, banking, energy, transportation, information technology, and others—would shut down.

Importantly, the electrical components and transmission systems would be permanently destroyed, requiring enormous levels of repair and rebuilding. Huge swaths of the U.S. would be without even the most basic of services for years, and it could take decades to fully recover. The economic and human losses would be catastrophic.

EMP Attacks—What the U.S. Must Do Now [heritage.org]

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack represents one of the greatest threats imaginable—to the United States and the world. An EMP occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon of which America’s enemies are well aware. The electromagnetic discharge can permanently disable the electrical systems that run nearly all civilian and military infrastructures. A massive EMP attack on the United States would produce almost unimaginable devastation. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be non-existent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine. Nor would the catastrophe stop at U.S. borders. Most of Canada would be devastated, too, as its infrastructure is integrated with the U.S. power grid. Without the American economic engine, the world economy would quickly collapse. Much of the world’s intellectual brain power (half of it is in the United States) would be lost as well. Earth would most likely recede into the “new” Dark Ages.

A single nuke exploded above America could cause a national blackout for months. [acdemocracy.org]

One EMP burst and the world goes dark [usatoday.com]

Re:What are you smoking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354419)

And now I have to know that there is a physicist out there called Yousaf Butt.

Re:What are you smoking (2)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year ago | (#45353595)

Given the frivolous nature of the comments on this article thus far it seems that few of you have ever considered the effects of a serious EMP attack on your way of life. The mere fact that NK can put something in orbit means they don't necessarily have to have the tech to deliver it to the us as you would a ballistic missile, but just wait for the oppotune time to de-orbit it. In addition, the US happens to be in a location where the earth's magnetic field can significantly enhance the effect of a NEMP. My admittedly hazy memory says the effect of catastrophic failure of US power infrastructure from a well placed NEMP was 70% of the population due to starvation, rioting and the other horsemen of the apocalypse. In addition, the estimate was decades to restore full services if you even could under such circumstances.

Actually, I'm quite aware of what the effects may be. There's just not a whole lot anyone, except the military, can do. We're already quite prepared for the follow-on effects (Four Horsemen). Short of creating an absolute Faraday cage around the house here, something I've actually done before in uniform, not much anyone can do. Hmm..., thinking about it, perhaps a small Faraday cage for the life-saving electronics might be in order.

Re:What are you smoking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353673)

I think NK is still a fair way from being a credible EMP threat to the US. They are just barely able to do fission and put things in orbit now. Whether their device can be made small enough to put in orbit is anyone's guess. A NEMP which is small (1kt), efficient and well delivered could take out electronics and power systems for around 400km in radius. This would be pretty for a major industrial region but not fatal to the US. You would have much greater likelihood and risk from an X class solar flare- and at least you should get some warning of both events. Can't say I'd rely on the government for a decent response after Katrina.

NK could try and smuggle a non-nuclear EMPinto the us but its range would be even more limited because they need to be pretty large and being up in the air helps a lot. More likely they'll try and piss off the US by attacking Sth K or Japan.

You're right- not much you can do as a citizen to prevent a NEMP or solar flare, but you can make a few basic preps to give yourself an advantage over the masses.

Re:What are you smoking (0)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#45353717)

"effect of catastrophic failure of US power infrastructure from a well placed NEMP was 70%"
An atomic weapon would do that been an "atomic" weapon. The EMP part is just a nice extra in the design... something the US mil knows of. Kind of hard to repair a grid that has to be decontaminated and clean expensive unique 'generational' spare parts rushed in...
The US grid was build around the need for military and later nuclear production sites and energy sale interconnects added later.
A big diverse network with many layers of equipment, maintenance standards, repair crews, some areas near black out and brown out stresses at many times.
A conventional EMP would be like a bit city in summer or winter storms having an issue - known and well modelled for every year by very skilled staff over the US and Canada.
Too many people gambling, big winter storm or long term summer heat wave does not impact the wider US grid in big bad ways all the time.

Re:What are you smoking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353875)

A lot of shit is in places hardened against EMP. Usually it's actually to protect against solar events, eavesdropping, and to prevent excessive RF from polluting the spectrum and pissing off the feds. Any type of EMP weapon capable of generating enough shit to get through regular shielding is going to be nuclear in nature, and in that case the problem isn't the EMP it's the blast/heat wave.

Subway data? (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | about a year ago | (#45353551)

Hell, I've got subway data from Boston. Pay no attention to mbta.com, North Korea - I will sell you detailed subway schedules and maps of the entire Boston area for the paltry sum of $1m. Cash. Not fake cash. Up front. Bring a USB key.

Re:Subway data? (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | about a year ago | (#45353561)

Addendum: Just to throw the capitalist pigdogs off the trail, I will triple-crypto-encode the various lines using colors: Red, Orange, Blue, Green, and Silver. With some purple too, if you want the commuter rail, but do not think for an instant that that won't cost you extra.

Hopefully... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about a year ago | (#45353641)

they will function as well as their missiles. Well, probably.

Let's not forget... (4, Insightful)

mmontour (2208) | about a year ago | (#45353671)

Let's also not forget that North Korea successfully launched a satellite [heavens-above.com] into a stable polar orbit (higher than the ISS). That first payload was a bit of a dud, but they have a proven ability to send a package over any part of the Earth's surface.

Now here's what REALLY happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353755)

.. Idiot Jong Faeces-for-brains had his people photoshop up an iPhone 3 so that it LOOKS like an EMP weapon. Just like the stealth fighter that couldn't fly and the giant versions of certain party members visiting an old people's home.

I'll believe this when they actually manage to deploy something more powerful than an obviously-faked picture.

FAG 6009 company (-1, Offtopic)

FAGbearings (3419613) | about a year ago | (#45353765)

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Could be worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353807)

Could be a strong nuclear force pulse weapon.

Parrot without understanding (1)

Internetuser1248 (1787630) | about a year ago | (#45353813)

"At higher energy levels, an EMP can cause more widespread damage including to aircraft structures and other objects."

What is this about? I looked into it and it is actually something the media is copy pasting from wikipedia. The original quote from wiki also includes the extra words "At higher energy levels, an EMP event such as a lightning strike can cause more widespread damage to aircraft structures and other objects."
Can someone who knows the science explain this to me? Can an EMP weapon actually damage the structure of an aircraft? Obviously 'other objects' is just stupid no matter how you look at it, my farts can damage 'other objects'.

It's trivial to develop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353841)

But a tad more difficult to deploy or aim a flux compression generator

How come we dont give Chechnya, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45353847)

Something just as nasty.

To make N. Korea (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#45353927)

Even more repulsive.

more worried with my nextdoor DEW (1)

lebjoot (560242) | about a year ago | (#45353951)

Personally Im more worried about my neighbor modified microwave oven, a direct energy weapon. I have my guts burned every day, kind annoying but one get used to. Go to http://www.stopeg.com/ [stopeg.com] and get informed. It is all one can do for now, really.

Re:more worried with my nextdoor DEW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354277)

Forgot to mention:
- Im in Brazil, south America;
- an inflatable pillow|matress with water (or better, gel) helps a lot;
- they can fry electronics too :/

Didn't you know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354093)

North Korea has stealth bombers flying over the US 24 hours a day! Hell they've had an Iron Man suit 12 years ago.

Mini EMP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45354537)

I have a mini EMP in my house. If I walk accross the carpet and touch my mouse, the shock shuts down my computer. :)

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