Not a single tear

most in the world now protect the Internet. Fiber-optic cables stretched across the globe, are not only the lifeblood of the economy, but also the main reason for the international paranoia. The threat of their disappearance, the nightmare of not only users but also of entire governments. Why so afraid of the Russian submarines that can leave everyone without a connection — in the material of the

In recent years, Western media is increasingly writing about Russian submarines, walking on the Atlantic. From the point of view of European and American experts, their goal may be attack on underwater cables that carpet the ocean floor. These invisible transmitters broadcast daily 97 percent of transmitted information in the world, including support financial transactions amount to $ 10 trillion.

Fear for the integrity of the underlying fiberglass they call a concern for the global lifestyle. It is this promise had the December speech sir Stuart Persia, the chief of the defence staff of great Britain. According to him, NATO’s mission — to protect the cables from the threats associated with the rapid modernization of the Russian fleet. Persich noted that such development of events, the allies prepared very bad.

Official records of the analytical centre Policy Exchange give disappointing forecasts. “Submarine cables are integral infrastructure of our time, a necessary part of modern life and the digital economy, but they are not protected and are very vulnerable to attacks at sea and on land by hostile States and terrorists,” concluded experts.

Physical transmitters of information that potentially can destroy, disturbed the large States for many years. The main opponent of the established way of life has always referred to as the Russian defense system. Fears of Western military, they know from my own experience how to use the fiber for their own purposes.

Fear of losing the fast communication across the Atlantic appeared almost 160 years ago, simultaneously with the laying of the first Telegraph cable. By this time on account of the engineers were already mistakes in the calculations and breaks the wires. The first successfully passed the telegram called a new word in communications — until a few days connected “umbilical cord” weighing thousands of tons is not interrupted. The history of the installation of the transatlantic underwater communication consists of a continuous problem.

Now a few hundred stealth cables is all over the ocean, side by side with fish and algae. Due to the unpleasant specific environments, they often suffer mainly from anchors and fishing gear. For their online fix, there are special cable court. Normally every two days the engineers are restoring more than 400 wires, and, according to them, the damage they are clearly unintentional.

For example, ten years ago, Vietnamese fishermen accidentally damaged set of equipment and knocked out the network cable of one of the two providers. On reconnection it took a few months. And in 2011, an elderly resident of Georgia accidentally severing shovel Internet cable and for several hours left without Internet just three countries. It was the only fiber wire, serving the whole of Armenia, part of Georgia and several regions of Azerbaijan.

Experts on cable Internet networks are not so radically as Western politicians. Professor at new York University Nicole Starosielski monograph “an Underwater network,” writes that no intervention can bring down the whole system. To leave the world without communication can only be a global catastrophe of enormous power: for example, if a tsunami happened right in the world’s oceans.

To attack an underwater network must be fully aware of how it works and how it works. Regular damage for regular users virtually invisible: in the event of a disconnection all information in fractions of a second is routed by another cable line. Outwardly, it is not even perceived as a hindrance. Obviously, the military paranoia is unfounded: even a hypothetical threat to the transatlantic cable system is not able to prevent the transmission of information. The elimination of multiple wires will lead to redirecte. And even if someone will be able to search through and blow up all the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, the transfer will go the other way — through the Pacific system.

a Few years ago, the company Renesys has compiled a ranking of all countries in the world, dividing them into risk areas off of the Internet. Not being connected, according to analysts, nearly all of the southern hemisphere (except Australia) and Asian countries. From the Northern part of the Earth got in Belarus, the Baltic countries and Denmark’s Greenland — the territory, which is the smallest number of cables, commonly called “totalitarian” state. In the latter case, the Internet can disappear due to problems in one or two existing providers that experts think is quite likely.

To the countries prosperous Internet experts took Russia, USA, Canada and most countries of Central and Zapadnoi Europe. Such a conclusion they did, analyzing legislation, and the actual number of Internet service providers. In the highest category of the countries with forces of more than 40 service providers.

the Fears of the representatives of the naval forces of the United States while forcing them to invest in cyber defence and the coast guard. It is obvious that the military is not so much worried about the infrastructure of the global information system as a threat to the physical access to the transmission of top secret information that they are unlikely to want to redirect via a common communication channel.

In this case, the cable network actually belong to no one: most large States already using them on the principle of anarchist commune. Who needs the connection — he gets it. Repairing the cables together, too, limiting activity in this matter brings nothing but problems. So, in 2011, the Indonesian government decided that the country will attempt to repair underwater networks (without resources). Then hit not one Asian country and some of their trading partners. Same with the military communication channels is not so simple: here there are real underwater battles, guerrillas and subversive activities.

However, the war for control of the underwater lines is a long time — at least since the cold war. A wide popularity was gained by the operation of the NSA, the CIA and the U.S. Navy called Ivy Bells (the ivy flowers — ed. “Of the”). According to declassified later according, in the 70-ies of the us intelligence has been tapping Soviet communications cable in the sea of Okhotsk at depths of several hundred meters. Russian military was confident of the secrecy of the cable and reliability of its protection, so passed on it unencrypted messages.

the Us side has specially designed listening device does not violate the integrity of the cable. Later, similar equipment was fixed and other underwater communication lines of the Soviet Navy. Wiretapping was conducted almost ten years — until, until KGB agents did not receive information about the American RAID.

foreign media recently often think of this campaign, linking it with the now Russian presence in the Atlantic waters. Journalists called submarines echoes of the cold war, remembering the special operation carried out by us intelligence agencies.

indeed, Humankind is increasingly dependent on wires, and we seem isolated “cloud” services, and home Internet of things depend on a large number of cables. The less we think, the wire, the them more. It really can cut. But to expect total Apocalypse, stupid: the Internet is not the light, which immediately disappears in the absence of electricity.

the Rate of repair cables is comparable to the effort spent on their destruction, so in essence it’s a meaningless action. In addition to underwater connections there is a huge amount of ground routes: probably, a serious gap will be difficult to establish contacts between continents, but within each country established a separate system of communication.

the Attack submarine wire in its destructive power like a nuclear strike: it is impossible to implement it without hitting the population of the country. A sizeable amount of content is stored on international servers in other countries, and suffer then do not top-secret data, and a selfie to Instagram and cat videos to Facebook.

Cable lines are under threat and without militaristic intervention: many countries of the “risky” category, associated with the outside world by one or two cables can remain without international connections through the fault of the hapless angler or the movement of the earth’s crust on the seabed. This “bottleneck” is able to break the habitual way of life and cause great damage to the economy of not one but several States.

While the heads of government are predicting war for cables and scare users imaginary threat of destruction of the Internet, its functioning provides a completely different infrastructure. Some listening intelligence services, others post on social media pictures of animals, and others are repairing the cable, a broken anchor. But the Russian threat is still a subject for fiction lovers.