Tips For Protecting Devices From EMP Attacks
EMP attacks are very real threats. If you haven’t read our how to survive an EMP attack article, you should definitely consider checking that out after this read. This is a quick read on how to start the process of protecting your devices from the effects of an EMP attack which can render them useless. The ability to remain “connected” following an EMP event can help determine your odds of survival. Additionally, you might consider that many of our family photos are digitized on smartphones and hard drives, as well as contact information and login information. It is a good idea to take simple steps to help protect devices from the threat of an EMP attack.
It may seem like that of paranoia, but EMP attack potential is real. You don’t have to look any further than North Korea threatening to use an EMP attack on the United States to validate such concern. The fact is, they can reasonably carry one out, according to United States officials.
Avoid EMP Attack Catastrophe
The proliferation of weapons the ease with which computer hackers can invade and disrupt myriad systems creates troubling new issues for the nation’s power grid. Rogue states will soon acquire the ability to detonate a nuclear device in the upper atmosphere creating what is known as an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack. These sorts of attacks can decimate an electrical grid knocking out power to any device, vehicle, or appliance using electricity.
But weapons of mass destruction aren’t the only thing keeping the people who worry about the nation’s power grid safe up at night. Hackers have migrated from nuisance to legitimate threat. They infiltrate movie studios, banks, and credit bureaus with increasingly damaging results. One day they won’t be content with stealing information for ransom or fraud. Organizations who wish to do us harm may decide to target the grid we all rely on to run our computers, hospitals, and communications.
And then there’s Mother Nature. Solar flares present a constant threat to satellites and electrical grids. No amount of reason or ransom can bargain with her wrath. A large, well-timed solar flare could send us back into the 19th century. It’s important to be prepared to protect what we can so that in the event that electrical power grids are damaged or destroyed, we can maintain power for some period of time while repairs can be made.
Protecting Smaller Devices From EMP Attack Fallout
While rhetoric about war and bombs ratchets up between North Korea and the U.S., a frank discussion about how to protect electronic devices against an EMP attack seems prudent. Small devices such as cell phones, radios, LED flashlights, and the like can be stowed in a home-made Faraday cage. There are many DIY solutions available on the web such as this one. You can also buy one on Amazon for a reasonable price.
Other folks prefer to construct them using galvanized garbage cans, ammo boxes, or even a gun safe. Sealing such cages can be tricky, and it’s best to refer to videos to make sure you get it right. What is NOT recommended is the Faraday cage made of chicken wire.
Shielding and Effectiveness
EMP bags (aka anti-static bags) is the easiest route to protect small electronic devices. The effectiveness of the bags on the market varies with the manufacturer. One can find bags with shielding from 10 dB, which reduces the electric field strength by a factor of 3, to greater than 50 dB which offers a reduction of 316. With many choices and levels of quality, it’s caveat emptor. You can check out some reviews on this Amazon EMP bag.
Generators, Vehicles, and Solar Panels
Larger items require different techniques. Draping vehicles, generators, and solar panels in conductive cloth is an effective way to compensate for their size. When assessing quality cloth, use the following traits to make your choice:
• Good shielding protection
• Easily sewn
• Safe to handle
• Won’t tarnish or rust
• Low surface conductivity
• Reasonable cost
Optimal cloth won’t contain silver or nickel, can be sewn by hand or with a machine, and has low surface conductivity, meaning it grounds easily, say, by letting it touch the ground.
Using EMP cloth is simple and straightforward. Wrap up or cover the objects you wish to protect. The ideal result is to have the cloth touch the ground all the way around whatever it is you’re covering. However, even if you can’t get the ideal result, your level of protection should be satisfactory.
Protecting Devices that Remain Plugged In
There are some things you can’t unplug. And while covering them will provide a measure of protection, large transients can find protection via corded connections. There are several ways to protect against these transients. These include metal oxide varistors (MOVs), transient voltage suppressor (TVS), and ferrites. They all function differently. Ferrites use magnetic fields to combat the change in current, while MOVs alter the impedance with increased voltage, and TVSs activate to repel the surge in energy. You can check out this Ferrite set on Amazon.
Ferrites are easiest, basically a plug-and-play option as you need only clip them around the wires to provide transient suppression. Another attractive feature of ferrites is that they won’t sustain damage from transients, unlike TVSs and MOVs.
For further reading on EMP protection you can purchase Disaster Preparedness for EMP Attacks and Solar Storms. It is a good idea to learn as much as you can now so that you can come up with a preparedness plan that’s both easy to follow and economical to create.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.