Cable conspiracies

One undersea cable cut by a wayward boat anchor? Coincidence. It happens from time to time, maybe once a year. Two? Surprising. But three? Let’s put on our conspiracy hats!

Assuming news reports are accurate, three cables were cut in quick succession, supposedly by boat anchors in stormy weather. These cables are geographically diverse but all serve the same region.

Now, for some time there has been a strong and persistent rumor that the United States has the ability to tap undersea fiber-optic cables. This is, itself, a remarkable feat, an incredibly complex and delicate job, especially to do it undetected. So let’s say someone else wanted to get into the game. Maybe a major regional player. And let’s say they were a bit over-ambitious, or some wires got crossed somewhere…knocking out three cables is a pretty bone-headed move. But it is certainly a lot easier to tap a cable while it is out of commission than while it is active.

On the other hand, maybe its not someone trying to *tap* the cable, but simply a group that wants to see what happens when a cable is maliciously *cut*. Much like satellites and radio spectrum, fiber communication infrastructure is pretty much impossible to protect against a determined attacker with a destructive aim. But unlike satellite and radio jamming, cutting a fiber is a lot easier to do undetected, since all you need is the undersea equivalent of a big pair of scissors (mounted on an ROV) and a map.