Emprimus provides testimony on emerging threat of intentional electromagnetic attacks
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, Aug. 11, 2009 -- Emprimus was asked to provide testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology last month...
• U.S. Navy, congressional members and Emprimus see EMP attacks as greatest threat to U.S. economy and infrastructure
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, Aug. 11, 2009 -- Emprimus, the nation's leader in evaluating, testing and remediating against intentional electromagnetic attacks, announced today that it was asked to provide testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology on Tuesday, July 21, about the present vulnerability of the U.S. electric grid and other critical civilian infrastructure to growing intentional electromagnetic threats, and its recommendations for steps toward remediation of these threats.
Every year, the modern infrastructure of the U.S. becomes increasingly dependent on integrated circuit-based electronic control systems, computers, and burgeoning masses of electronically-stored data. All are at risk from this emerging threat. Growing use of non-nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse/Intentional Electromagnetic Interference (EMP/IEMI), including Radio Frequency (RF) weapons, poses grave dangers to all of our civilian infrastructure including our national electric grid, manufacturing control and distribution systems, corporate data and data assets, and emergency response operations. IEMI can damage electronic equipment and the associated data; rendering systems useless and potentially unrecoverable. In addition to these primary assets, vulnerable support systems at risk range from security systems and communication links to fire protection and HVAC systems.
The U.S. Navy has tested and demonstrated the vulnerability of computer and SCADA systems and has demonstrated the fabrication and use of a non-nuclear EMP device. These person-portable or vehicle-borne weapons are becoming a modern tool of those wishing to conduct highly asymmetrical warfare, including disgruntled employees, criminals, extremists, and terrorists. The technology to create RF weapons is becoming widely available through courses at major universities and public conferences. Additionally, full devices, including parts and construction plans, are available on the Internet.
"An intentional or unintentional EMP attack on U.S. data centers, the electric grid or critical control systems and sensors, such as those found in water treatment facilities or the Alaskan oil pipeline could have catastrophic consequences for the U.S. and world economy," said Gale Nordling, president of Emprimus. Yvette Clarke, Subcommittee Chair, added, "For example, if the electric grid was attacked and a large sector of the country was affected, medicines and food would go bad, phone and radio communication would be non-existent, water treatment facilities would go down and critical data and infrastructure could be lost forever."
Members of the Congressional Subcommittee were both shocked and enraged upon learning that the major U.S. energy providers (as well as data centers, communication providers and hospitals) have known about this threat for more than 10 years, yet have taken no steps to protect critical infrastructure from EMP attacks. As a result of the committee's findings, Congress is contemplating broadening planned legislation to amend the Federal Power Act to include electromagnetic attacks and other cyber threats. This legislation will provide additional authority to adequately protect the critical electric infrastructure against IEMI attacks and other cyber attacks, as well as hardening the electric grid against high altitude EMP and severe geomagnetic storms.
More than 300 European data centers are protected and many national governments have protected portions of their critical infrastructures against these electromagnetic threats. The U.S. military and some critical government assets are protected as well. Emprimus was formed to protect U.S. civilian business along with state and local government operations.
"Unlike traditional cyber threats to data security, IEMI is extremely covert and difficult to detect and trace, with no footprints readily amenable to forensics, and with the ability to impede digital forensics by corrupting the data," said Nordling. "Fortunately, there are remediation approaches to help diminish this threat class if appropriate steps are taken."
Emprimus is a national leader providing protection services and products to mitigate intentional electromagnetic interference threats against civilian and non-military government facilities and data assets. With multi-disciplined expertise and threat testing programs, the company follows its moral and patriotic responsibility to protect our families and country against these threats. For more information, go to www.emprimus.com.