Are Internet cables in danger? Some US Government agencies and officials are very concerned. Their concerned isn’t over a natural disaster, hacker, or merger. This concern is born of an old international rivalry we thought ended a quarter century ago.
The concern is over Russia and their submarine and spy ships. If they come close enough to Internet cables working undersea, they could cut critical communication lines. Don’t get paranoid just yet. There is no hard evidence the Russian military has or plan on tampering with these cables. But US military leaders are increasingly concerned with Russian ships, especially coming closer and closer to American shores. And some fear they’re deliberately targeting deeper cables because they’re harder to fix and watch, especially in times of conflict. They believe Russia’s Navy could be looking at military cables. Undersea cables have played a paramount part in intelligence gathering. Let’s talk about how important these sea cables are. These fiber optic cables contribute $10 trillion dollars in global business. That’s $10 trillion a day in global business! These cables facilitate around 95% of all global communications. A nuclear US submarine checks on these wires often. Russia may not be trying to tamper these cables, but they’re coming too close for comfort. Last month, their ship called Yantar came awfully close to the US East coast.
Tensions between the US and Russia are the most strained since tail end of the Cold War back in the 1980s. Issues from the Syrian Civil War to handling ISIS to the Ukraine crisis to the same-sex marriage debate have torn the Putin and Obama administrations far apart. There may not be any room for reconciliation on either side. Russia isn’t the only one testing these waters either. I’ve read stories of Chinese ships coming eerily close to US territory, especially on the sea. Why are these world governments doing this? Are they sending a message? Or is something even more sinister at play?