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EMP, yeah you know me... Hack3rcon 3 (Hacking Illustrated Series InfoSec Tutorial Videos)

EMP, yeah you know me...
Hack3rcon 3

While I'm not an expert, I figured it would be an interesting idea to research and report on considering the theme of the conference. I plan to cover the basics of electronics, what an EMP is (and why some equipment gets fried), ideas for scrounging parts and other information to keep tech functional. I also plan to lightly cover useful tech to learn for a situation where society breaks down.

Adrian Crenshaw

Adrian Crenshaw has worked in the IT industry for the last fifteen years. He runs the information security website Irongeek.com, which specializes in videos and articles that illustrate how to use various pen-testing and security tools. He did the cert chase for awhile (MCSE NT 4, CNE, A+, Network+. i-Net+) but stopped once he had to start paying for the tests himself. He's currently working on a Masters in Security Informatics, and is interested in obtaining a network security/research/teaching job in academia (though he's beginning to think that the corporate world has a better grasp on ethics/academic freedom). He is also one of the co-founders of Derbycon.

Back to Hack3rcon 3 video list


EMP, Yeah You Know Me!
Adrian Crenshaw
Naughty by Nuke!
(With apologies to Naughty by Nature)

About Adrian
•	I run Irongeek.com
•	I have an interest in InfoSec education
•	I don’t know everything - I’m just a geek with time on my hands
•	I’m an (Ir)regular on the InfoSec Daily Podcast: http://isdpodcast.com
•	Sr. Information Security Engineer at a Fortune 1000
•	Co-Founder of Derbycon

What is EMP          
•	EMP = Electromagnetic Pulse
•	A powerful burst of radio waves cause by quickly changing electromagnetic fields
•	Has the effect of inducing currents into conductors and can “burn” them up or cause interference
•	Early British term was “Radioflash”
Why this subject          
•	I don’t consider myself a prepper or survivalist (but I did collect a lot of Paladin Press books as a kid)
•	I like the smell of fried electronics (as long as they ain’t mine)
•	Lots of scare monger videos, justified or not, but little with the science behind EMP
•	It fit the theme!
EMP: Entertaining Misinformed People
•	Signal to Noise is high on this subject
          	Many people will speak authoritatively, but not know the actual fact
          	Tried searching for site:mil and site:gov
•	Limited practical testing seems to have been done
          	Radio Waves do weird things…
          	When/where was the testing done          
•	Audience
          	Some stuff is classified
          	Some stuff aims toward the non technical
•	I’m not an expert either, so take all this with a huge grain of salt
Spark Gap          
•	Ever run a vacuum/electric motor while watching an analog TV          
•	Sparks cause a broad band of radio waves to propagate, which can cause interference. 
Inducing current
•	Changing magnetic fields cause current in a conductor 
•	Current in a conductor cause a magnetic field
Near-Field and Far-Fields
•	Distance           1/(d^3) vs. 1/(d^2)
Self Propagating EM Wave
Bit Of History
•	Apparently EMP was expected by Enrico Fermi, and equipment during the Trinity test (July 16, 1945) was shielded in anticipation of it
•	Apparently some recording were lost 
due to “spurious pickup”
•	Greater interest came about after
Starfish Prime

Starfish Prime
•	High altitude test of a nuclear weapon on July 9, 1962
•	1.4 megaton W49 thermonuclear 
warhead detonated 250mi (400km)
above a point about 19 miles 
southwest of Johnston Island in the
Pacific Ocean
•	EMP effect was greater than 
Starfish Prime EMP Effects
•	Drove instruments off the scale, presumably as expectations of the effect was lower
•	Damaged electrical systems 898 miles away in Hawaii
          	300 street lights blown
          	Telephone microwave link damaged
          	Set off burglar alarms
•	Further tests in the “Operation Fishbowl” series gave more data on EMP’s effects

EMP: Multiple Pulse in Three Parts
•	E1 – Very short, powerful burst that induce high currents in conductors.
•	E2 – Comes shortly after E1. Somewhat akin to the EM effects of a lightning strike. Many systems may already be prepared, but precursor damage from E1 may soften them up. 
•	E3 – Longer, slower pulse that can last many seconds caused by the Earth’s magnetic field being pushed out of the way. Can induce current in long conductors and cause damage to power systems.
Volts per Meter
•	Volts per Meter – V/m – Voltage across a one Meter conductor as the magnetic field sweeps across it.
          	EMP: 100,000 V/m Ground Burst
          	Radar: 200 V/m
          	Radio Communications: 10 V/m
          	Metropolitan Noise: 0.1 V/m

Range from Ground Zero for Surface Burst
•	If you are too close, you are already having a bad day!

Burst location
•	Surface/Near Surface Burst – Ground level
          	EMP is an issue, but other effects may take precedence
          	Geography limits area
          	Air density limit range
•	High Altitude – above 30km
          	20km to 40km is where we get the Compton effect
          	Can hit a larger area
          	Saturation at about 50,000V/m
          	500km burst could cover continental United State
•	Air Burst -  100-1000m, maybe below 30km          
          	Not as interesting for EMP*

More Acronym (and Electron) Soup
•	SREMP = Source Region EMP (low/surface burst)
•	HEMP = High-altitude EMP
•	MHD-EMP = Magnetohydrodynamic EMP
Caused by shifting of Earth’s magnetic field
•	SGEMP = System Generated EMP
Caused by Gamma/X-Rays hitting the outside of a satellite/space craft
•	NNEP = Non-Nuclear EMP
+Ground Burst

Chain of events E1/E2: HEMP
Chain of Events E3
•	Lots of interference

Earth’s Magnetic Lines
•	Latitude and Altitude make a big difference

EMP Production Factors
•	Altitude
•	Yield and Construction
•	Distance from detonation
•	Geography
•	Magnetic Field Strength

Prompt Gamma Yield More Important Than Total Yield
•	0.115–0.5% of nuke’s energy  is Prompt Gamma Yield
•	Starfish Prime was 1.4MT, but 0.1% PGY, so 1.4Kt for EMP effect
•	500Kt Nuke optimized for 0.5% PGY would give 2.5Kt for EMP effect
•	Pre-ionization in thermonuclear bombs may cause less EMP effects to take place than more primitive fission weapons

EMP Horseshoe Effect

Entry Points
•	Direct – in through the holes
•	Induced
          	Satellite Dishes
          	Power Lines
          	Network Cables
          	Telephone Wire
          	Other Cables

Damage Types
•	Functional Damage – Over load, hit break down voltage, heat up and fry! Blue smoke is gone, it’s dead Jim!

•	Operational Damage – Circuit upset for transient current. Circuit breaker blown, or circuit logic disturbed. 

Super EMP Nuke
Can you optimize a nuclear bomb to have more of an EMP effect          
•	Reduce ionization from heat
•	Make case and explosive gamma transparent
•	Produce as much gamma as quick as possible

Non Nuclear EMP (NNEMP)
•	What about just the EMP, without the other nasty nuke effects          
•	Effect electrical systems, but not buildings/roads
•	“Force Multiplier” from loss of enemy communications
•	Less (immediate) deaths = less political ramifications          

Marx Generator
•	Charge capacitors in parallel, discharge in series
Explosively Pumped Flux Compression Generator

•	EPFCG uses a magnetic field with conventional explosives (many configurations)
•	Below is a “Helical generator”

High-Energy Radio Frequency weapons (HERF)
•	Ever put a CD in the Microwave          
•	Can fry/disrupt equipment
•	Can effect humans in negative ways
•	Some people make homemade versions from old Microwave oven’s magnetron, wave guide, and other parts

The Vircator
•	VIRtual CAthode oscillaTOR

Geomagnetic Storm
•	Tied with “space weather” like sunspot and solar flares and Coronal mass ejection
•	Messes with Earth’s magnetic field
•	More akin to the effect of E3
•	Largest recorded was September 1 – 2, 1859, really screwing with the telegraph system
•	March 1989 Geomagnetic Storm had its way with Hydro-Quιbec's power grid

Type of Tech
•	Things can be unpredictable 
•	Solid State, fall down go boom, let magic blue smoke out (maybe)
•	Thermionic technology (Vacuum Tubes) more resilient but not perfect. Also, try building a modern computer from them. There are also power concerns. 
•	Fiber optic: No conduct mean no fry
•	Shorter conductors are better

Fry Chart

Surge Protection
•	Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV)
•	Is it fast enough          
          	E1 peaks at ~5ns
•	Can signal propagate other ways          
•	Electromagnetic arresting devices          

Power Sources
I’m soooo in need of better test data
•	Tradition Fossil Fuel Generators
•	Hydro Electric
          	SCADA Systems
•	 Solar
•	Wind
          	Voltage regulation circuits          
          	Charging components           

•	Faraday Cage
•	Fiber Optic Cable Preferred
•	What about power lines in          
•	Water          
•	Any holes          
•	Propagation direction
•	Grounded          
•	For slow moving magnetic 
fields (<100kHz) look into 

Permalloy or Mu-metal

Hypothetical computer room

Improvised Faraday Cage          
•	Microwave
•	File Cabinets
•	Trashcans
•	Ammo Boxes
•	Metal Mailbox
•	Foil Wrapped Containers          
•	Anti-Static Bag          
•	Mesh with holes less than 
1/10 diameter of wavelength 
to be blocked (NSWAG)

EMP Tips and Guidance
•	Unplug gear
•	Disconnect antennas 
•	Have spares
•	Use voltage clipping devices
•	Avoid large conductor loops
•	Shielded conduit and cables
•	Bury lines (though I have heard mixed opinions)

•	EMP Commission Report (April 2008)
•	The Effects of Nuclear Weapons Chapter 11 (Compiled and edited by Samuel Glasstone and Philip J. Dolan)
•	FEMA 128-Attack Environment Manual-Chapter 4 
•	Wikipedia EMP Article 
•	Electromagnetic Pulse Threats in 2010 by Colin R. Miller, Major, USAF
•	The Electromagnetic Bomb - a Weapon of Electrical Mass Destruction Carlo Kopp
•	The Early-Time (E1) High-Altitude
•	Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and Its Impact on the U.S. Power Grid by Edward Savage, James Gilbert, and William Radasky
•	Future Science EMP Page

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