How dependent is the world on a handful of cables?

I am attending the Worldwide Security Summit being held at the QEII Conference Centre in London.
It is currently being addressed by Dr R Chandrashekar, the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology in India. His address has been very wide-ranging, but I was much taken by the way in which ha acknowledged almost as an aside a massive vulnerability to the world economy before moving quickly on.
After spending several minutes outlining the increasing dependence of the world on the internet, including government and commercial systems. He then pointed out that, of course, the internet only functions because of the existence of a small number of undersea data cables, connecting the major continents together. These have been damaged from time to time, for example, by shipping and by natural disasters. These have produced significant, if (so far) short-term, disruptions. For those wanting to cause major problems for the world economy the implications are unfortunately obvious …….

2 thoughts on “How dependent is the world on a handful of cables?”

  1. Try reading ‘POTENTIAL INDICATORS OF TERRORIST ACTIVITY
    INFRASTRUCTURE CATEGORY: CABLE LANDING STATIONS’ a draft report in 2004 for the US DHS; this has some details on the situation in the USA and then at length ‘indicators’.

    From the precis:This report discusses potential indicators of terrorist activity with a focus on cable landing stations, which carry about 95% of all intercontinental telecommunications traffic (voice, data). These stations and associated cables form the backbone for international banking, finance, and commerce transactions and the Internet. Cable landing stations, which are often located near populated areas,
    are particularly vulnerable to attack.

    Available on:http://publicintelligence.info/DHS-UCL-PI.pdf

    Given the spate of cable thefts one wonders how secure less secure places and routes are.

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