Undersea communications at risk

Written by Mark Evans

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has raised concerns that Russia could target undersea communications and internet cables.

Providing the majority of internet and communications links between countries, the subsea cables for a huge network of more than 400 cables over 683,508 miles.

Sir Stuart believes that there is a growing issue with foreign agencies either causing disruption by cutting, or tapping the cables to ‘listen in’ on data transmissions. Russia in particular is seen as a prime worry with reported increased submarine activity and long-held suspicions of links to cyberattacks.

The RAF is introducing new P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft, but currently resources are stretched, and even so the ability to detect or prevent damage is limited.

Russia has a long history of probing defences of potential rivals or enemies, including the dramatic if rather pointless ‘testing’ of UK airspace with Bear bombers. The move to assess and test communications infrastructure would be a logical extension, as would trying out methods of hampering communications such as DDoS attacks.