The United States is concerned about Russian ships and submarines’ crashing of the Internet by cutting undersea cables, a new report says.
American spies have reportedly noticed Russian vessels acting suspiciously near the fiber-optic cables in the North Sea, northeast Asia and off the US coast.
Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict, according to the New York Times report published on Sunday.
The paper said over a dozen US military and intelligence officials had confirmed the issue was drawing attention in the US Department of Defense.
The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the subsea fiber-optic cables at some of their most difficult locations to halt the instant communications on which the Western governments, economies and citizens widely depend, it added.
Inside the Pentagon and the US spy agencies, the assessments of Russia’s growing naval activities around the globe are highly classified and not publicly discussed in detail. American officials are secretive about what they are doing both to monitor the activity and to find ways to recover quickly if cables are cut, the NYTimes said.
William Marks, a US Navy spokesman is quoted by the daily as saying, “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.”
The report points to the economic, political and other ramifications of a possible rupture in the West’s telecommunication cables, due to its dependence on the Internet.
It says over 10 trillion US dollars worth of business transactions are carried out through the underwater cables each day, noting that the Russians may also be after America’s secret military cables.