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Global Telecommunications Security: Effects of Geomagnetic Disturbances

Author(s): D.J. McManus | H.H. Carr | B.M. Adams

Journal: International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM)
ISSN 1865-7923

Volume: 5;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: communication | systems | information | technology | risk | analysis | solar | radiation | organizational | security

Global information and communication technologies permeate organizational structures, while questions of security pervade strategic plans of corporations worldwide. From the spectacular to the sublime, the effects of geomagnetic disturbances (i.e., electrical current produced by solar storms) can be as devastating to an organization’s telecommunications systems as a hacker breaching a firewall. Using a dataset spanning 31 years (1978-2009) with 580,000 solar activity records, we investigate the effects and relationships of natural anomalies, specifically solar storms, on the security of corporate telecommunications. The ionosphere is a natural barrier around the earth to protect it from the sun and serve as a shield, but some electrical currents break this barrier causing significant telecommunications outages and security breaches within corporations. In this exploratory empirical study, we present the initial evidence that tracking geomagnetic disturbances can provide vital cautions for business continuity planning. The results of the study should help organizations with strategic planning efforts with respect to their overall security, especially as it relates to telecommunications.

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