February 07, 2008

More On Those Cable Cuts

More on those cable cuts. Wikipedia has a dedicated page going. A more general Wiki pages suggests there is about one cut a week somewhere in the world, but there does seem to be a bit of a pattern here. For example, a looped cable off Iran was cut in two places last weekend. What are the chances?

It's possible this is just business. The cables carry a lot of sensitive business and financial data these days, and a cut cable would be a good opportunity to plant a listening/tapping device of some kind. Of course, you would have to cut the cable in two places almost simultaneously, wouldn't you? Otherwise (a) your device is discovered when they go to fix the cable, or (b) the cable miraculously "fixes itself" when you reattach it.

The issue of redundancy is also important. Most cables are part of a network with failover backup routes available, so if you wanted to e.g. isolate a particular country, you might need to make several cuts.

This ZDnet geek says the idea that the USA might be behind the cuts is a ridiculous Conspiracy Theory. But then he speculates seriously on the idea that terrorists might have done it! No wonder they can't find Bin Laden - he's been riding around the globe in a frikkin' submarine!

UPDATE: India's Flag telecom says they found an abandoned five tonne anchor, which they say caused the cut on the Falcon cable off UAE and Oman. The AFP reporter has some fun:
Bloggers have speculated that the cutting of so many cables in a matter of days is too much of a coincidence and must be sabotage. Theories include a US-backed bid to cut off arch-foe Iran's Internet access, terrorists piloting midget submarines or "vengeful militant dolphins."
And they wonder why people don't read newspapers any more...

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