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Microcontrollers used in Bengaluru, Surat bombs

Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru | September 29, 2008 12:38 IST

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Striking at will seems to be the order of the day. However in the days to come, the trend is likely to get more and more dangerous, say investigating agencies in both Bengaluru [Images] and Surat [Images].

For the first time ever in the country, investigating agencies found that microcontrollers were used as timer devices in the bombs found in Bengaluru and Surat.

The role of a microcontroller in a bomb is extremely deadly and gives a terrorists absolute control over the bomb, unless it is detected. The microcontroller is a substitute for the digital clock, which usually times the explosion.

The microcontroller, according to an investigating officer in Bengaluru, can be timed anytime between five minutes and 184 days. However, in the case of a digital clock the explosion could be timed only for 12 hours.

An investigating officer in Bengaluru told rediff.com that this is a brand new technology that has been used by terror outfits. This would mean that bombs can be concealed for long periods. It would also make the job of bomb detection squads a lot more tougher because they have to be on the lookout all the time.

There is no question of taking a break immediately after a terror attack since the normal tendency is to comb the area only immediately after a strike.

However, the use of the microcontrollers has not been a success the first two times it was used. In Bengaluru, the problem was not with the microcontroller, but with the assembling of the bomb.

Moreover, the bombs were packed in concrete flower pots which reduced the impact. In the case of Surat, the bombs were detected and hence it did not explode.

The Information Bureau says that terror operatives are improvising each day. The newer modules have a point to prove and there is a lot of hot blood within these outfits, considering the fact that most of them are youths. It has become more of a cat and mouse game with the security agencies.

Each time a proclaimation is made that a module has been busted, terrorists have to strike back to show they have the upper hand.

Regarding the microcontrollers, the IB says that outfits such as the Students Islamic Movement of India have recruited techies galore. There is a core group which extensively depends on improvisation. The latest innovation is the microcontroller. It is felt that this will give them absolute control over the bomb and they can set the device for longer periods.

Another factor that has come to light is that the failure of the attacks in both Bengalruru and Surat was intentional. The areas in which the bombs were placed and the manner in which they were packed are only indications that the terrorists were trying to innovate.

In other words, they were just trying out the microcontroller, which they want to use as a tool in gennext attacks.

A microcontroller contains a processor core, memory and programmable peripherals.With a clock speed of 32 KHz, microcontrollers operate at a lower speed compared to the microprocessors.

It consumes very little power, which ensures that it lasts longer and is adequate for typical applications.

Microcontrollers are mostly used in automatically controlled devices, according to Wikipedia.






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