Damaged submarine optical fibers. Failure or attack on the global network?

Underwater fiber optic failures have been frequent in recent weeks. Communication disruptions and network outages between Europe, Asia and the United States are being felt in several countries.

According to Zscaler, a company dealing with the security of cloud solutions, among others, problems with optical fibers have been reported in the south of France. Optical fiber crossings were to take place on the Marseille-Lyon, Marseille-Milano and Marseille-Barcelona lines. Although it was possible to redirect traffic to other optical fibers, the difficulties of operating the network were acutely felt, and not only near France. Currently, work is being done to restore the full functionality of the connections. An investigation has also been started to find out the causes of the accident.

However, it was not just France that had to deal with the problems of damaged optical fibers connecting distant places. Around the same time, it was believed that the failure would occur on the installations connecting the northern coast of Scotland with the Shetland Islands. According to the local services, this is another such incident that happened in the last few weeks. A previous incident involved fiber optics in the Faroe Islands. As patch repair companies work tirelessly to restore all optical fibers, there are fears that these types of failures will increase. All the more so because there are also comments that we are dealing with a deliberate disruption of communication.

Many commentators point out that it is quite unusual for such situations to occur in different parts of Europe in such a short time. There are already theories online blaming the actions of Russian units for attacking underwater optical fibers while disrupting communications between Europe, Asia and North America. Moreover, the issue of the “North Stream” facilities, where the gas leak occurred at the end of September, is still present. Investigations by Danish and Swedish judicial authorities point to subversive activities. Local services believe that external forces contributed to the leak.

Underwater optical fiber failures. Coincidence or deliberate action?


And disrupting communication between distant continents is not difficult. Although nowadays it is hard to imagine the availability of many sites, services and services disappearing, even the smallest failure can cause a lot of problems, even if it only concerns a decrease in transmissions between end segments. Here it was so serious that the connection was temporarily interrupted, both Internet and landline. And this translated not only to the lack of Internet access, but also made it difficult to connect to services.

Source: Unsplash

Although no one directly says that the Russians are responsible for the sabotage of their installations, both the media and various commentators are sure that it is one of the elements of Russia’s game in a difficult geopolitical situation for the whole of Europe. Has similar work been done with fiber optic installations? There is no clear answer at this time, and I would refrain from making such far-fetched conclusions before obtaining and sharing relevant evidence.

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