Ars Technica has an interesting article discussing US Intelligence reports that Russian subs are committing “aggressive” activity near underwater cables. While good intelligence is always looking at all information and possible scenarios, I have to say I think this one is a bit of a red herring.
First, looking the map included in the story, they would have to cut 20+ cables to have an effect on the global internet. This would mean a ton of missions all being conducted at once, or they would have to plant some sort of charge all over the place to conduct the operations at the same time. All this without being found out. On top of that, I don’t believe that Russia has enough submarines to conduct a mission of that scale.
Second, what would they expect to achieve by this? They won’t bring down the global network and at worst, they will slow things down. Plus, they have nothing to gain by crippling the global economy. One would assume that they would mean to make themselves the new global superstore and sell their resources. If all countries can’t send payments etc. how do they expect to be the worlds new global superstore.
It does begat the question though, that if we are so reliant on these networks and have no good backup, we really do need to do something about this.
Lastly, we have been doing this as well. So is this a new plan or just a response to our own “research” activity. If we do something, Russia will do it as well. Whether they are doing it for some actual research or at the very least to let us know they are watching.
I really think of all the threats we have in the current climate today, this one is so low on the priority list why even worry about it.