LIRNEasia Senior Policy Fellow Abu Saeed Khan and I have been pointing out the vulnerabilities of the many Asian countries that rely on a few undersea cables for their international connectivity since 2010. We’re happy we’ve managed to shift the discourse and include language in various resolutions, but we have yet to see traffic flowing in mesh networks.
The intriguing story of a deep-diving submarine that saw all its crew die in an accident is opening up the conversation in broader way, showing the problem is not limited to Asia.
Because the internet can reroute data when cables are damaged, Western analysts have often dismissed the dangers of sabotage. But considering the vital role of data in Western institutions of all kinds, Professor Zysk said, simply applying pressure by degrading the network could be enough.
“When people lose Facebook and Twitter — oh, my God!” she said, not entirely facetiously.
Mathieu Boulègue, a research fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, in the United Kingdom, said a specialized craft like the Losharik might help test the West’s ability to respond if cables were cut.