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Is Europe in danger of being cut off by Russia?

Some regions of Europe have, in recent days, suffered from short outages or loss of internet due to multiple submarine cables being cut. Although they occasionally suffer accidental damage, the truth is that they are not very common for these infrastructures. Influenced by the seasonality of the sea.

The last big panic arose in France, where three cables connecting Marseille with Lyon, Milan and Barcelona were cut. Three of the most important links are in Europe, as they connect to the United States and some Asian countries and form an important part of the European Internet; Even though they weren’t provoked There is no network dropOnly speed.

According to the cloud security company Zscaler, although it is consistent in 24 hours before the problemThey did not find a clear reason why the cables were cut. A few days ago, the Shetland Islands in Scotland experienced a similar situation, although in this case they explained that it was an accident related to a fishing boat.

However, there are between 100 and 150 pieces each year in the fiber cables that fill the European sea floor and that three of them They suffer the same fate The same day has caused some doubts. Some sounds suggest that it could be. Russian-led sabotage .. Is this possible?

wire fragility

The European Parliament has released a report detailing the existing fiber optic cable infrastructure on the continent. 250 of the world’s little more than 400 cables pass through Europe, making the region the very heart of the Internet.

One of the quickest points to make is that, in fact, these cables can be seen easily affected by human activity. “Roughly 70% of annual outages are inadvertently caused by human marine activity,” they explain in the report that, in addition, identifies fishing activity.

For example, in 2007, Vietnam lost 90% of its connection with the rest of the world due to an accident with a fisherman accidentally cutting one of the most important network cables. But the European Foundation also warns of possible deliberate attacks on these structures.

There are potential attack methods. The strongest is the one includes bodily harm».

– maliciously used Fishing Tools or other types of civilian devices

– Use control Military grade explosives Like sea mines that can be detonated from a distance

– attacks in a military vehicle Like submarine or marine drones

It is unlikely that there will be a complete blackout

In the case of Europe and the United States, 99% of the Internet depends on marine infrastructure – the remaining 1% corresponds to satellite infrastructure. This means that although it is low, there is a risk of a complete power outage.

«full blackout In Europe is unlikely. Despite this, a theoretically coordinated attack on strategic cables or a simultaneous attack on various cables and repair systems could severely impact our communication,” the report states.

Moreover, security systems are not prepared to prevent this type of attack or sabotage, only to respond to it. From 200 nautical miles (the boundary of the exclusive economic zone), the European Parliament recognizes the responsibility to protect it become “ambiguous”so that international waters would become an ideal place to perpetrate this kind of sabotage.

known concern

This is not an unknown issue or one that goes unnoticed by Western leaders. Two years ago, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had already warned of this danger and confirmed that they were preparing for it, If necessary, act.

“Our telecommunications networks are still vulnerable to attacks from the outside and compromise from the inside,” Stoltenberg explained, before stressing that most Western militaries “can quickly return to satellite communications.”

Even at that press conference on October 22, 2020, the NATO chief was already asked how they raised “the risk of being The Russian Navy was investigating marine communication cable network.



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