A few weeks ago something strange started happening to main trunks of connectivity linking the Middle East & Asia to the rest of the world via undersea cables, one by one over the short period of a few days main cables from a number of companies failed due to cuts in the seabed lines. India, and Egypt in particular were affected by the outages and a scramble was on to dispatch ships & repair crews to fix the cuts.
Today’s bandwidth hungry users flush with video & communications needs got a taste of the major slowdowns & connectivity problems associated with over saturated use.. Highlighting the importance of maintaining integrity over communication infrastructure as fastidiously as we guard more ‘concrete’ examples of infrastructure in these security conscious times.
The initial reaction was “from ship anchors” – But theories ranged all the way up to intelligence agencies snipping the wires in order to insert listening technologies inside. The fairly targeted zone combined with a rapid loss of cables going out one after the other raised suspicions of sabotage or possibly terrorism as motives. Lo and behold the official UN agency now investigating is saying that sabotage or terrorism are not to be ruled out:
Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the International Telecommunication Union said on Monday.
“We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago,” the UN agency’s head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.
Five undersea cables were damaged in late January and early February leading to disruption to Internet and telephone services in parts of the Middle East and south Asia. [...]
These days cyber warfare plays just as much an integral part of the war on terror & crime as good old fashioned guns do, the Islamic Jihad for instance has made cyberspace a key battlefield to own. So who’s targeting critical telecom infrastructure under the sea and why? All part of the latest battlefield in the communication wars perhaps.
*Incidentally, as is the case generally with our Arab & Muslim friends, they don’t like to share things with Israel.. In this case Israeli connectivity was not affected as we are forced to operate on one of two main separate lines that we not affected or sliced, which link us to Europe & beyond.