January 06, 2006

Securing Against EMP

All I could think of when I read this scare story regarding an EMP attack is "Why aren't people insuring themselves against this?" and I still can't imagine why not. It's not really that hard to set up a reasonable scheme. You talk to manufacturers and get them to license the production of certain replacement components in their current lines, the ones that would be vulnerable to EMP blast. Your license to produce only kicks in after there has been an EMP attack so their current supply chain has no problems with this new arrangement. Even if their equipment would survive, there's no way they could deal with the surge in demand at the time so they're not really losing anything.

You offer EMP insurance for reasonably low prices in the form of guaranteeing the existence of hardened production facilities to create the parts needed to replace EMP damaged components and granting the right to buy when an EMP blast goes off. You have a small factory that is created to produce very short runs of electronics quickly with stock sealed to prevent EMP damage. Under normal conditions, such a plant is uneconomic but if nobody is operating due to component failures, such a plant is worth pure gold in restarting factory lines or in replacing hard to find, discontinued parts.

Alternatively, you offer safe, secure storage for the necessary parts in bunkers designed to withstand any EMP blast and simply store these parts for your clients, something like a safety deposit box. It's a reasonable solution for larger institutions like UPS that might need thousands of truck computer replacements to get their fleet back up to snuff. A secondary line would be selling off that inventory of replacement parts for your clients when they change equipment models and no longer need the parts they had been storing.

Prime customers would be the very SCADA system managers that the authors fear would lead to cascading societal failure. However, if the system could be made efficient enough, paying insurance to maintain idle, expensive, hardened production capacity might be a fairly standard rider offered by all sorts of existing property insurance, such as renters, auto, and home insurances as well as part of extended warranty offers on lots of electronics.

Posted by TMLutas at January 6, 2006 09:38 AM