Congress mulls IEMP threat to critical infrastructure

TechSec speaker predicts quick passage of HR 2195, fund appropriation
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—In a possible boon to some involved in physical security, members of Congress, and key personnel at DHS and DOE are reportedly eager to pass a bill, currently in the House of Representatives, that would enable the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require private utilities to protect against IEMP—intentional electromagnetic pulses.

Not only that, according to Emprimus CEO Gale Nordling, these stakeholders want to ensure that funds are appropriated this session to ensure this happens.

The government entities have recently been made aware of the danger posed to our critical infrastructure, data centers, and security systems by IEMP, and they’re eager to act, Nordling said. 

During the closing session of the first day of the TechSec Solutions conference Nordling, and Jim Danburg, Emprimus director of security and continuity, described in chilling detail how IEMP can quickly and quietly render useless or severely damage computer chips used in private and public sector facilities throughout the country.

Equipment used in IEMP weapons is easily made, instructions can be downloaded from the internet or purchased online for $20, he said. IEMP is so effective that the military uses this technology for defensive purposes in Iraq.

The danger, of course is that it will be used against American business or government targets. Much of the government infrastructure is already protected, Nording said. It’s the private sector that needs to play catch-up.

Technology, in the form of protective containers and remediation processes are readily available, Nording said.

Nording said the legislation, HR 2195, would go a long way toward addressing the threat and said the bill is expected to pass the House and Senate with little opposition in the near future.