The North Korean nuclear crisis has fueled global concern over how much time is left before Pyongyang masters the technology required to miniaturize nuclear warheads and make the re-entry vehicles needed to deliver them on target.

But a Sept. 3 announcement by the reclusive state raised fears of another kind of attack that completely bypasses those hurdles: an electromagnetic pulse.

In Sunday's announcement, Pyongyang claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and said it had the ability to detonate one at high altitude to generate an EMP — an electromagnetic wave that would fry electronic devices and disrupt communications for hundreds of kilometers around.