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posted by mrpg on Saturday December 16 2017, @03:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the cable-comrade?-what-cable? dept.

Russia a 'risk' to undersea cables, defence chief warns

The UK's most senior military officer has warned of a new threat posed by Russia to communications and internet cables that run under the sea. Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the defence staff, said Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication. He said it would be an "immediately and potentially catastrophic" hit to the economy if they were cut or disrupted.

The cables criss-cross the seabed, connecting up countries and continents. [...] Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute defence think tank, Sir Stuart said the vulnerability of undersea lines posed a "new risk to our way of life".

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:24AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @04:24AM (#610615)

    If they included British, US, and Chinese subs in that list of threats.

    Hint for those of you out there who don't already know this: All major players in the international espionage scene with covert undersea maritime assets use them to regularly cut undersea fiber cables in order to install taps for traffic capture/denial of service purposes.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:56AM (#610650)

    Ivy Bells! Ivy Bells! Its cut and tap time, in the intelligence community! (Don't you DARE say, "Happy Spying"!)

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:59AM (#610651)

    Odd that they omitted the UK's arch enemies, France and the Argentine.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:32PM

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 16 2017, @07:32PM (#610768) Journal

    use them to regularly cut undersea fiber cables in order to install taps

    Not true. Makes a nice story, but its just not the way this stuff happens.
    Cables pass through water so deep that no sub can reach them, and opening a cable at that depth would cause water infiltration
    of the entire length of that segment. Further, you would then have to have a method to get all the information you tapped back to
    shore. You really can't cut into an undersea cable unless you haul it up, and do that at the surface.

    In years past, older WIRE cables could be tapped by an induction sheath without opening the cable itself, but again retrieving the signals was difficult and required sending teams down to collect what was recorded every few weeks.

    Its far easier to do this on land than it is in the deep sea. A lot of the alleged undersea taps really happen on dry land.

    There are actually very few places where undersea cables where they can be messed with, and it never involves cutting.

    Some such locations are at signal regeneration points or branches, which are seldom located in shallow water, and usually require a cable haul-up [], which is pretty hard to disguise in this era satellite monitoring.
    Even then the cable operator would notice the disruption.

    And most of this became pointless when the big guys (google, amazon)started encrypting all inter-datacenter traffic.

    This story isn't about tapping. Its about destroying the cable. A few simple depth charges or a torpedo will do. And there is no new risk here. Nothing has changed, and cables were always at risk to state actors.

    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.