Here's a surprising fact: 99 per cent of intercontinental data travels through underwater cables (not satellites.) But a report by the IEEE says that those cables, which are essential to international commerce, are vulnerable to sabotage and in urgent need of securing.
The Institute's report, presented last week at the Worldwide Cybersecurity Summit in Dallas, highlighted the vulnerability of several "choke points" for undersea transmission. At places like the Suez Canal and the Strait of Malacca near Singapore, a huge number of cables are packed in a small area, making them an easy target for people looking to disrupt communications networks or steal their valuable metal parts. You'd think there would be easier ways to get your hands on valuable scrap metal than diving down in the Suez Canal and yanking it off of internet cables, but IEEE members are the experts, after all.
In an increasingly interconnected society - and one that's increasingly dependent on that interconnectedness - the vulnerability of these cables poses a serious economic threat, and the IEEE is pushing for a diversified undersea network to ensure its safety. Laying cables in alternate routes, they say, would prevent bottlenecks, redistribute the flow of data, and contain the damage to international markets and important YouTube cat video transmissions everywhere. [New Scientist]