Thursday, October 29, 2015

Undersea Internet Cables Are Surprisingly Vulnerable

The undersea cables that connect the world together could be under the threat of saboteurs. This is important to information systems because a cut cable could lead to an internet blackout that could disconnect an entire country from the rest of the world like New Zealand or Australia. The cables could also be damaged by other means such as; fishing nets or anchors, these may be dropped onto the cables which could disrupt communications. The cables can also be targeted by spies to try and capture data that is being transferred through them. Most recently there have been many reports of Russian submarines that were stationed suspiciously close to the cables running through the ocean. This could lead to risk of important information being captured by other countries and used to find out information about another. Another major issue with the undersea cables is that most of them are concentrated together due to the fact that the cables can only operate In certain areas, those least likely to have issues. This leads back to the issue of sabotage because you could disconnect an entire country by cutting their cables. However, this is less true of the cables that run over land because they are much more spread out so even if one goes down there are other routes for the data to take to get to its location. The other major reason why the cables could be so easily targeted is because their location is marked on navel charts to prevent ships from dropping their anchors on the cables which would cause a major disruption in communication. This called an issue in 2007 in Taiwan when a shipped pulled up a cable off the coast of Vietnam and was able to disrupt the internet in that area for several months. Disruptions in this communication could cause a major problem for the global economy as an internet connection is critically important in the global economy and without it many businesses cannot thrive. The largest issue with the undersea cables though is their vulnerability and the ability outsiders have to steal data from these easily hackable cables. The biggest threat in this matter is the Russians putting a tap on the cable or cutting it which would be even worse because it would disrupt major communications for the United States and the rest of the world. The United States is at a risk just like the other countries from cable cutting because even if a couple of the cables were cut it would have a major effect on the international internet services within the country.

Works Cited
MILLER, GREG. "Undersea Internet Cables Are Surprisingly Vulnerable." Conde  Nast Digital, 29 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
Starr, Barbara. "U.S. Sensors Detect Russian Subs near Cables -" CNN. Cable  News Network, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.


1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that the fall of the internet would be devastating for any modern country. Today so much of people's lives are intertwined with the internet that, should anything every happen to it, so much would not be able to get done. The economy would not be able to run, government officials and business people would not be able to communicate effectively without email. Not even the weather or news would be able to be reported as there would be a major cut in the ability to share information. However, these cables are often laid about 6,500 Ft below the ocean's surface making many difficult to accidentally cut. There are currently 285 active cables with 22 inactive that could be switched on should they be needed. We as a nation have been using transcontinental wires for about 150 years and have even developed effective repair techniques on these wires. The biggest threat seems to be from spies and the threat of a nation going out to purposefully cut the cables, however, even this seems unlikely.Should any nation try such a bold move, they would be welcoming the backlash from every other nation. You mention Russia as a possible threat with their submarines, however, should Russia do anything, they risk hurting themselves. Russia's economy is dependent on the oil industry that supplies many Western European nations. Should they do anything and these countries stop buying from Russia, the economic backlash would do more damage to Russia than any other nation.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.