According to recent reports, Russian submarines and spy ships are operating dangerously close to critical undersea cables that support virtually all global internet communications.
There is major concern from United States military officials that Russia might attack these cables in order to cause widespread disruption throughout the world. Such an attack would bring chaos to the world, which has become heavily dependent upon the internet.
Needless to say, the economy would tank, and people everywhere would panic.
There is currently no evidence that Russia has tried to cut any cables. However, the threat is being taken very seriously, leading some people to wonder if the Cold War ever really ended.
Meanwhile the American government is being considerably tight-lipped when it comes to Russia’s naval activities. The United States military currently spends a large portion of its focus on monitoring Russia.
Commander of the United States Navy’s submarine fleet in the Pacific, Rear Admiral Frederick J. Roegge said, “I’m worried everyday about what the Russians may be doing.”
Roegge would not answer questions about Russia’s potential for cutting undersea internet cables.
Navy spokesperson Commander William Marks said, “It would be a concern to hear any country was tampering with communication cables; however, due to the classified nature of submarine operations, we do not discuss specifics.”
As recently as last month, Russian spy ships have been spotted nearby important communication cables located off of the East Coast of the United States. The spy ships carried deep-sea submersible crafts that are capable of cutting cables located miles below the sea.
The destruction of communication cables is not unprecedented. Undersea cables often get destroyed by anchors and natural disasters. However, most of these cuts occur within a few miles from the shore, and they can be easily repaired.
But the real danger is that Russia could cut a cable that is difficult to monitor and where cuts could be extremely costly to locate and repair.
The locations of these cables are not very secretive. They were originally laid out in the 1860s, and updates have followed similar paths due to the familiarity of these locations. That being said, the United States also maintains secret cables that are designed for use by the military. It’s possible that Russia is searching for those cables.
The cables are absolutely critical for the world’s economy. More than $10 trillion in financial transactions are carried out on a daily basis using these cables. They represent a total of 95% of all global communications. The Department of Homeland Security lists the cables as “critical infrastructure”.