From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Sep 26 2001 - 01:49:02 PDT

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    Forwarded from: Russell Coker <russellat_private>
    On Fri, 21 Sep 2001 09:39, you wrote:
    > September 2001
    > In the blink of an eye, electromagnetic bombs could throw
    > civilization back 200 years. And terrorists can build them for
    > $400.
    This is a very interesting article, but it fails to mention one
    crucial point.  What is the effect of an EMP weapon on magnetic
    It would not be difficult to have some Faraday cages filled with spare
    circuit boards ready for an EMP attack.  Then even if high power
    surges took out shielded computers the damaged parts could be quickly
    replaced.  As long as the data isn't lost it's not that much of a
    Even the electronics in hard drives can be replaced, and I'm sure it
    wouldn't be difficult to manufacture hard drives with all the
    electronics on a module for fast replacement.
    But if the EMP will wipe the platters of the hard drives then the
    problem is much worse.  Then of course there's the issue of how well
    magnetic tape stands up to such treatment (should be much more
    reliable than hard drives due to lack of electronics in the media
    package, and the fact that the media is tightly wound so only a small
    section should be at great risk).  If you lose your computers and hard
    drives but have a good working recent backup then you still aren't
    doing so badly.
    If EMP pulses can easily wipe out magnetic tape then possibly other
    backup media should be investigated.  I imagine that a CD-RW would not
    be at risk as the phase-change chemicals would be unlikely to be
    easily corrupted, is that a good assumption?
    Russell Coker
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