C. Warren Axelrod

EMP-athy for Toyota

In my previous column on electromagnetic pulse attacks, namely, “EMO (Electromagnetic Pulse) – Yet Another Critical Infrastructure Concern,” posted on December 28, 2009, I wrote about the threat of an EMP attack. We did receive an email from a reader thanking us for raising the topic. She said that whenever she brings up the topic, it is ignored. The topic arose in another recent situation, namely, during a conference call of principals of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit. During that call, Joel Gordes, a world-renowned expert on electrical power and a Research Director of the US-CCU, pointed us to the 2004 “Report of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack – Volume 1: Executive Report,” which you can find at www.empcommission.org/docs/empc_exec_rpt.pdf Joel also mentioned William R. Forstchen’s recent novel One Second After (Forge, 2009). The novel describes the aftermath of a catastrophic EMP event. Among the more graphic consequences of the EMP, which destroys all electronic circuitry within line of sight of the nuclear explosions that create the pulse, were planes falling out of the sky and all vehicles built after about 1980 stopping dead in their tracks. This of course brought to mind the recent problems surrounding the electronic controls in Toyota’s and other manufacturers’ vehicles.

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