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posted by requerdanos on Tuesday August 31, @01:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the the-geomagnetic-storm-is-building-we-shouldn't-stay-long dept.

A Bad Solar Storm Could Cause an 'Internet Apocalypse':

Scientists have known for decades that an extreme solar storm, or coronal mass ejection, could damage electrical grids and potentially cause prolonged blackouts. The repercussions would be felt everywhere from global supply chains and transportation to internet and GPS access. Less examined until now, though, is the impact such a solar emission could have on internet infrastructure specifically. New research shows that the failures could be catastrophic, particularly for the undersea cables that underpin the global internet.

At the SIGCOMM 2021 data communication conference on Thursday, Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi of the University of California, Irvine presented "Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse," an examination of the damage a fast-moving cloud of magnetized solar particles could cause the global internet. Abdu Jyothi's research points out an additional nuance to a blackout-causing solar storm: the scenario where even if power returns in hours or days, mass internet outages persist.

There's some good news up front. Abdu Jyothi found that local and regional internet infrastructure would be at low risk of damage even in a massive solar storm, because optical fiber itself isn't affected by geomagnetically induced currents. Short cable spans are also grounded very regularly. But for long undersea cables that connect continents, the risks are much greater. A solar storm that disrupted a number of these cables around the world could cause a massive loss of connectivity by cutting countries off at the source, even while leaving local infrastructure intact.

[...] On top of all of this, a major solar storm could also knock out any equipment that orbits the Earth that enables services like satellite internet and global positioning.

"There are no models currently available of how this could play out," Abdu Jyothi says. "We have more understanding of how these storms would impact power systems, but that's all on land. In the ocean it's even more difficult to predict."


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:46AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:46AM (#1172631)

    The internet is mostly a mass-surveillance/manipulation tool. It's best if it becomes unreliable enough to drive away the normies and put the hurt on monetizers.

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:53AM (#1172632)

    The surveillance state started long before the internet was ever thought of. Modern technology has made it cheap enough that nobody is below notice any more but that would have still happened without the net.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @02:32AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @02:32AM (#1172645)

    The whole point of the new 5G infrastructure is more granular connectivity at higher speed. So that in crowded urban areas everybody can still be tracked and advertised to vigorously. Right now it is sometimes problematic. Global connectivity is not really that important. Each city/state generally focuses on it's local denizens. If there are breaks in the global nature, just promote more nationalism so that people can feel cozy in the webs that hold them in place.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday August 31, @02:02PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday August 31, @02:02PM (#1172824) Journal

      Wait a sec . . . from what I've heard, even hinted at here on SN, is that the point of 5G is to give everyone COVID or something worse but for the same low low price.

      --
      This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:45PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 31, @01:45PM (#1172811)

    The real issue is the heavy infrastructure dependency on the internet. Banks, power, agricultural, you name it.