The internet is a crucial piece of infrastructure, but most international connections rely on a surprisingly small number of submarine cables. And Russia, being the insecure frat bro of all nations, is making yet another bid for attention by threatening them without saying they’re threatening them.
According to the New York Times, Russia has spy ships and submarines dangerously close to crucial undersea cables, and may be working out a plan to cut those cables, slowing critical communication in the West.
Cutting a cable is the cyberwar equivalent of dropping a nuke. The last time cables were cut, by accident, it caused problems across the globe. Replacing a cable is not an easy task, as you may have guessed, so cable-cutting is basically the prelude to all-out war.
Thanks to economic problems at home, Russia’s government has been getting adventurous abroad to have successes to point to. The problem, of course, is those “successes” tend to be situations like what’s still unfolding in the Ukraine, blowing airliners out of the sky and then stonewalling criminal charges, buzzing the U.S. Navy trying to provoke a response, and somehow making the Syrian civil war even worse, and considering the U.S. is bombing hospitals, that says something.
Let’s be clear here. If Russia picks a fight with the rest of the world, and cutting cables would do exactly that, it loses. Everyone knows this. Putin is drawing from the North Korea playbook here and hoping that by posturing, he gets some form of concessions, or that oil prices go up, before his cash reserves run out. So he’s not going to actually cut cables intentionally. Then again, he didn’t invade the Ukraine intending to blow innocent people out of the sky, either, so maybe keep an eye on your internet.
(Via the New York Times)
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