EMP as a Weapon in Cybersecurity: A Blessing or a Curse?

Aditya Shende
4 min readMay 3


For many years, cybersecurity experts have debated the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. EMP can be used as a weapon with devastating effects, perhaps resulting in significant harm to electrical systems and communication infrastructure. The benefits and drawbacks of using EMP as a cybersecurity weapon must be considered, though. This article will examine the many facets of EMP as a weapon, its benefits and drawbacks, and its applications in contemporary conflict.

What EMP ?

Let’s first define an EMP before going any farther with the subject. An electromagnetic pulse is a brief burst of radiation that can be produced by solar flares, nuclear explosions, and lightning. EMP may interfere with electrical equipment and communication networks, causing malfunctions and damage to the systems. EMP has been employed as a weapon by both state and non-state entities more often in recent years.

Benefits of Using EMP as a Weapon

The ability of EMP as a weapon to neutralise a target without causing any physical harm is one of its main benefits. For instance, if an EMP were to go off in a metropolis, all electronic equipment would malfunction and there would be a blackout. All communications would be disrupted and anarchy would result from the absence of power. An EMP would be a powerful weapon in this circumstance without causing any casualties.

EMP as a weapon also has the benefit of acting as a deterrent. Those states who possess EMP capability can use this as leverage to deter other countries from attacking them. This is because awareness of the use of an EMP in

There can be serious drawbacks to using EMP as a weapon. One of the main worries is that it might result in widespread anarchy and confusion. People wouldn’t be able to reach emergency services during an EMP strike, and hospitals couldn’t run. A catastrophic loss of life would result from this.

The fact that EMP as a weapon has the potential to cause long-lasting environmental consequences is another drawback. An EMP’s radiation emissions may damage the environment and cause mutations that have a long-term negative impact on both human and animal health.

Examples of EMP Attacks in the Real World

EMP strikes have been discussed for many years, and they have occasionally been employed as weapons in actual conflicts. The Iranian military claimed to have brought down a US drone in 2012 using an EMP. South Korea said in 2013 that North Korea had used EMP to render its drones inoperable. Both of these claims, however, have not yet been proven.

  1. A solar storm in 1997 resulted in a significant EMP that knocked off electricity for millions of people in Quebec, Canada. This example illustrates how a natural EMP event might have an impact.
    What is an EMP and can it actually wipe out electrical devices?

2. Aramco, the state-owned oil firm of Saudi Arabia, was the target of an Iranian cyberattack in 2012. The assault made use of the Shamoon malware, which by overwriting the master boot record destroyed tens of thousands of machines. Although not strictly an EMP attack, the incident illustrates how cyberattacks have the ability to interfere with electronic systems.
Source: “Shamoon Wiper Malware Returns with a Vengeance” on wired.com

3. When a North Korean ship was apprehended in Panama in 2013, its consignment of Cuban weaponry was found on board. Additionally, the ship contained parts for a Soviet-era radar system that experts think could have been used to produce an EMP.
Did North Korea smuggle a super-emp weapon into South Korea?, http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/07/17

4. A missile fired by North Korea in 2017 over Japan led to the dispatch of an emergency alert. Despite the fact that the missile’s payload was devoid of an EMP, the incident serves as a reminder of the danger of a North Korean EMP attack.

Visit the BBC’s website for more information: 41019984

These examples demonstrate the real-world impact of EMP attacks and highlight the need for effective countermeasures and safeguards to protect against such attacks.


The employment of EMP as a weapon has both advantages and disadvantages since it has two sharp edges. EMP can be employed as a deterrent, but it can potentially have disastrous effects. Therefore, before making any decisions, it’s crucial to balance the benefits and drawbacks of using EMP as a weapon. To avoid any misuse of EMP technology, suitable precautions and countermeasures must be in place. EMP is a potent weapon, thus it must be handled carefully to prevent unforeseen consequences.



Aditya Shende

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