[kwlug-disc] EMP attack from the sun

John Johnson jvj at golden.net
Thu May 19 15:37:57 EDT 2011

On 2011-05-19 14:53, Chris Bruner wrote:
> I just had an interesting question posed to me. If  there were a huge 
> solar flare, it would look like a large EMP attack, possibly lasting 
> weeks.
> Any piece of wire including the ones powering the computer, connecting 
> the screen,keyboard and mouse etc would be generating large amounts of 
> power.
> Would computers/harddisks survive? The Interent?
> Should critical data be backed up with this in mind?
> Any thoughts? 

A few years ago there was an almost province wide outage in Quebec 
caused by solar flares.

IIRC The surge was generated on the 1000s of kms of transmission lines 
and caused some of the equipment to shut down.
I do not recall if there was any or much damage outside of that caused 
by the outage.

If a solar flare was powerful enough to generate a surge on a couple of 
metres of wire then I submit that you would have much more to worry 
about than a harddisk failure.

Related: I set up a PC for a guy in Breslau. He had a CB antenna and 
mast outside the house and the antenna was hit by lightning.
The antenna was in pieces, scattered throughout the neighbourhood.

Equipment on the mast side of his house was damaged beyond repair.
Equipment, including the PC, on the other side of the house was not damaged.
The PC was also protected by a power bar/surge protector.

And just last month, I exchanged a DSL modem due to storm damage caused 
by lightning induced surges.
This is one reason why I rent the DSL modem from my ISP rather than buy.

S**T happens.


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