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The US Department of Homeland Security is getting ready to advise the telecom industry about actions that can be taken to prevent 5G cell towers from getting attacked following a rash of incidents in Western Europe and in the US, fueled by the false claim that the technology spreads the pathogen causing covid-19. Dozens of arson attacks on 5G towers in Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium last month over this backdrop.

5G is a technology that has very fast connections that can power items like self-driving cars and smart cities. Large telecom providers such as Verizon and AT&T are rapidly expanding the number of 5G cell tower sites across the US, often using existing 4G towers.

An industry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter, referred to attacks in the US, saying: “It’s pretty clear,” said the official, who added that some of the attacks may be by “eco-terrorists,” according to washingtonpost.com.

DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will issue the alert with advice on ways to reduce the risk of attack, including installing appropriate sensing and barriers, cyberintrusion detection systems, closed-circuit television and monitoring drone activity near towers.

The misguided idea appears to have started after a doctor mused a connection between the tower and COVID-19. Those comments were then picked up by those who campaign against the towers. 

5G technology uses electromagnetic fields to transfer information, and “it is physically impossible that electromagnetic fields transfer particles like viruses,” said Eric van Rongen, vice chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, a Germany-based organization.

YouTube says it will take down all videos that bring up a connection between the towers and the virus.