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Russia a 'risk’ to undersea cables, defence chief warns

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Russia a 'risk’ to undersea cables, defence chief warns

Old 15th Dec 2017, 11:03
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Russia a 'risk’ to undersea cables, defence chief warns

RUSI
Big warning .........
Probably the least ‘warning’ speech I have ever heard.....where was the gravitas, the clear and deliberate annunciation? Or is it just because I have formed a biased opinion as he only has one ‘wing’ and a trickle of medals?
RAF never have been good at PR - they’ve relied on the ‘Reds’ for far to long. IMHO
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 11:12
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Do you think that the actual threat of disruption to undersea cables isn't massively significant to the modern way of life of the first world?

The nationality of the aggressor doesn't necessarily matter a great deal...the lack of protection of the assets is issue enough.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 11:18
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Did someone announce force cuts somewhere?

A quick search seems to show that commercial vessels are a bigger threat than anything else. If an undersea cable can be trashed by a ship dropping anchor it doesn't seem that Russia will have to invest much to do the same.

Channel Islands internet cable cut by ship's anchor in stormy weather - BBC News
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 12:41
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There's certainly a vulnerability:
Here’s how to shut down the internet: Snip undersea fiber-optic cables
Undersea cables conduct nearly 97 percent of all global communications, and every day an estimated $10 trillion in financial transfers and vast amounts of data pass through the seabed routes. Satellites, once crucial but now limited in speed and bandwidth, handle only a tiny percentage of global communications.
For a historical perspective, see:
In the early hours of 5 August 1914, only a few hours after war was declared, Britain carried out something that seemed to be minor, but was actually vital. A British cable ship severed five German overseas underwater cables, which passed from Emden through the English Channel to Vigo, Tenerife, the Azores and the USA. This cut direct German communications to outside Europe, most significantly to the United States. The British could now intercept German signals to their embassies. They were sent in code, but British codebreakers were eventually able to read them. Most significantly, Britain intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram, sent to the German Ambassador to Mexico. If the USA went to war with Germany, he was to offer the Mexicans an alliance with the promise that they would receive Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Its revelation helped to push the USA into war with Germany...
These operations, carried out in July 1945, were intended to cut the undersea telephone cables connecting Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The intention was to oblige the Japanese to use radio and render themselves open to message interception.

Operation Sabre was directed at the Hong Kong to Saigon telephone cable, and carried out by XE4, which was towed to within 40 miles (64 km) of the Mekong Delta by the submarine HMS Spearhead, where she looked for the two telephone cables by using a towed grapnel. She eventually snagged the first cable, and managed to haul it about 10 feet (3.0 m) off the seabed. XE4's diver, Sub-Lieutenant K.M. Briggs, used the net/cable cutter to sever it. The second cable was soon found as well, and was severed by the second diver, Sub-Lieutenant A. Bergius. Two divers were carried due to the operating rule that a diver should not spend more than 20 minutes in depths over 33 feet (10 m) and no more than 10 minutes over 40 feet (12 m). XE4 and Spearhead returned to Labuan on 3 August 1945.

Operation Foil was directed at the Hong Kong to Singapore telephone cable and carried out by XE5 against the Hong Kong end of the cable, after being towed into position by the submarine HMS Selene. Operating close inshore near to Lamma Island, working conditions were poor, XE5's divers having to work in thick mud under the constant threat of oxygen poisoning. Despite repeated attempts it was not completely certain that the cable had in fact been severed, and it was not until after the Japanese surrender that it was confirmed that XE5 had succeeded in doing so. XE5 and Selene returned to Subic Bay on 6 August 1945...
More recently:
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s rebel-held city of Misrata won no respite from two months of bitter siege as Muammar Gaddafi’s forces bombarded the city and battled rebel fighters, despite pulling out of the city centre...

Late on Monday, the “crusader aggressors” bombed civilian and military sites in Bir al Ghanam, 100 km (60 miles) south of Tripoli, and the Ayn Zara area of the capital, causing casualties, Libyan television said, without giving details. A Reuters correspondent heard explosions in Tripoli. The report said foreign ships had also attacked and severed the al-Alyaf cable off Libya’s coast, cutting communications to the towns of Sirte, Ras Lanuf and Brega...
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 12:54
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Originally Posted by alemaobaiano View Post
Did someone announce force cuts somewhere?

A quick search seems to show that commercial vessels are a bigger threat than anything else. If an undersea cable can be trashed by a ship dropping anchor it doesn't seem that Russia will have to invest much to do the same.

Channel Islands internet cable cut by ship's anchor in stormy weather - BBC News

Very good comment for paranoids who "see" russian combat divers in the (English) Channel oufitted with huge scissors

BTW, what is the relation of this issue to military aviation?

BTW 2, I am curious to learn what C4ISR systems depend on cable. Links between stock exchange servers - yes, but let's leave complaints to trading robots and Wall str. guys.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 13:09
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This "Denial of Service" scenario is just one of many that exist along with vulnerability of Satellites, Ground Stations, etc. On the other hand Russia and China have just opened a dialogue to create their own internet and I am sure it will be just as vulnerable as the current version.

Also, cutting internet cables deny service to everybody from the economic perspective. No trade between China and US/Europe, Russia/Europe, Africa. and moving on to GPS denial of service, trade will cease for everybody, flights will be affected for everybody. Only military aircraft will fly, if they can produce spares, get oil, get food. communicate. Only very limited economic activity happening anywhere.

This sounds like another dodgy dossier stitch up. , or a push for more budget

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Old 15th Dec 2017, 13:13
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Originally Posted by alemaobaiano View Post
A quick search seems to show that commercial vessels are a bigger threat than anything else. If an undersea cable can be trashed by a ship dropping anchor it doesn't seem that Russia...
The odd cable being damaged being damaged by commercial vessel is factored into the upkeep of these networks. Repair and replacement is expensive but there are vessels dedicated to this task.

Military compromise is a very different beast. A potential adversary can spend years mapping, locating and attaching multiple devices to these networks. Should the perceived need arise then these networks could be severed en-masse.

Unfortunately there isn’t the capacity to repair your way out of the damage as the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support such a massive task. Even if you did repair key links it still takes a considerable amount of time and it still leaves you with the thorny problem of providing protection on an induring basis for the replacement.

Lines of communications have been a political and military objective since the dawn of conquest. But unlike roads, bridges, geographic boundaries and alike our essential international networks are located in a place that is not owned by anyone, offers free access to anyone and is both difficult to monitor and defend.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 13:37
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There are a lot of undersea cables:

https://www.submarinecablemap.com

The internet has network resilience (as DARPA intended) and will reroute through other links if one goes down. If necessary, there's also traffic resilience. Streaming Netflix video accounts for as much as 35% of internet traffic (though probably not across the Atlantic). Unless the majority of cables were cut, network traffic can be shaped to prioritise military, government, financial and some business traffic.

Sure someone can cut all of the undersea cables, but it's going to be nigh-on impossible to protect the entire network so that's just a risk people will have to accept.

Plus, it's pretty obvious who's launched such a physical attack. Whereas a mix of worms, DDoS attacks and ransomware can do more damage, more easily and the origin harder to prove.

Given the US has been tapping Russian cables since the 70's with the USS Parche (likely now the USS Jimmy Carter), this is a long way from raising a previously unrealised threat. Why raise it now?
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 13:55
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That’s exactly my point - it is a huge threat to our way of life.......but his speech did not come over as such ......lots of indistinguishable words, mumbling and general lack of severity.....that’s all.

Put it here as speech was made by an apparently significant figure in military aviation - although I did think that was effing obvious
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 14:13
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Russia a 'risk’ to undersea cables
Haven't they always been? Don't think there is anything new or shocking tbh.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 14:26
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The USN ran an operation for years tapping into Soviet navy cables in the Far East - in those days it meant sticking a vast recorder on the cable and retrieving it every few months but it was well worth doing
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 15:35
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Originally Posted by Heathrow Harry View Post
The USN ran an operation for years tapping into Soviet navy cables in the Far East - in those days it meant sticking a vast recorder on the cable and retrieving it every few months but it was well worth doing

We would probably use surplus VC10 phones removed from the front doorway..
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 16:14
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So in what way is that supposed to alter defence policy? Even if our forces were twenty times current size it would still be very difficult to prevent this.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 16:52
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I suspect that this is primarily a cheap shot to reinforce political support of the UK Defence budget. Peachy knows that domestic comms networks and other types of infrastructure are (have always been) vulnerable points. However, today any dim-wit polli will rally to the call to protect their Facebook page!
Maybe this speech would not sound so crass if the UK Gov had not just wasted ££,£££,£££,£££.86p on the QEc farce?

OAP

Last edited by Onceapilot; 15th Dec 2017 at 18:05.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 17:10
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FLAG https://ipfs.io/ipfs/QmXoypizjW3WknF...the_Globe.html has vulnerable nodes that can be susceptible to attack without the need for anyone to get their feet wet.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 18:42
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A civvie's two penneth: surely two can play the same game

Hi Guys,

When I was a very small child in the early 1940s I, along with everybody else in the civvy population, possessed a government issued gas mask. At the time it was feared that 'Jerry' might bomb us with gas.

In fact that never happened. I am told that the reason we were not gassed was because Britain possessed an equal capacity for gas warfare with Germany and they didn't want to risk a tit-for-tat.

So perhaps the remedy to the threat of Russian cable cutting would be for us to have cable cutting assets equally capable to those of the Russians.

BP.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 18:58
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The USS Jimmy Carter, would seem to be the USN's submarine of choice for this sort of operation.

Came back from patrol in the Pacific flying the skull and Cross Bones....
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 19:05
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Cheap shot, the Internet was designed from the outset to route around any damage. However it might have an effect on high-frequency trades, when it becomes economic for someone to lay a cable across the Atlantic to shave microseconds off the transaction time then you know the gamblers really control the casino.
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Old 15th Dec 2017, 22:03
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Why are you quoting my post fanatic? You do not address any of my content in a meaningful way. I made no reference to any of your posts. Are you just trolling? If not, why do you fatuously spout "Undersea cables are not part of domestic networks" as if I was referring to someone's home computer rather than the complex communications hardware that spans the planet. In the same post, why, do you make unrelated simplistic comments about ASW and fixed-wing capabilities?
My post: was not addressed to you or any of your posts, was a comment about the politics of the subject topic and the reasons that it might be being highlighted.
I would be grateful if you remove the Lamprey-like trolling element of your post by deleting the quote of my post.

OAP
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Old 16th Dec 2017, 13:43
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Oap

You are clearly a sensitive soul. I deleted the parts that offend, but doing so meant the post no longer made sense. Your earlier post did refer to 'domestic comms networks'.

A more sensible (to start with anyway) discussion can be found here: Undersea Cable Interception - CDS Speech
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