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Last week, we told you about two major incidents on submarine cables, that impacted a number of our customers. Here's an update...
MULTIPLE CABLE BREAKS ON THE SEA ME WE 4 AND FLAG SUBMARINE CABLE SYSTEMS
SEA ME WE 4 and Flag cable systems suffered multiple-submarine cable breaks in the Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday 30 January.
We’ve re-routed our customers’ services onto alternative cable systems, and services continue to operate as normal.
To date, there is no information on how this cable broke. We're keeping the Major Incident team on point and are closely monitoring the cable fix situation and restoration paths.
CABLE BREAKS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On Friday 1 February, Flag suffered a break on its FALCON cable system between Dubai and Oman.
Flag had also previously suffered from a break on its cable between Oman and Iran - which is still to be repaired. As both of these cables were broken, it wasn't immediately possible to re-route services.
Our Major Incident team worked closely with Flag, and by Friday evening we'd successfully re-routed our customers' services onto alternative cable systems.
However on Sunday morning at 05:03 GMT, there was a small disruption to the restoration path. This caused a temporary loss of service to some of our customers. Service was fully restored at 06:49 GMT.
The Major Incident team will continue to monitor the situation, keeping a close watch on the restoration paths.
Originally posted by West Coast
Riddle me this. Who owns the internet?
From their point of view, they have limited bandwidth to anything outside their immediate geographic area and very limited connectivity to DNS services, limiting further their internet connectivity.
Friendly dictators with friendly prices.
In continuation of our previous updates, we are providing you progress status on the cable repair, the cable ship Raymond Croze vessel had arrived at the cable repair ground at 2130 UTC on 4th February 2008. The repair operation is in progress with the inspection and survey of the cable fault location (SMW4 Seg 4.1 off Alexandria) with full restoration is expected to be completed by 8th Feb, 2008.
Last night, we got communication from SMW4 consortium that they have found another fault in SMW4 cable system which is a shunt fault on SEG 4.7 between repeater R7401 and BU ANN 13KMs to 27KMs away from Annaba BU at a 3000 meters water depth. To repair this fault, same cable ship would get spares from Cantania depot and is expected to reach the cable ground by 13th Feb, 2008. Tests and repair would start from 13th Feb, 2008. The exact ERT will be notified by the SMW4 NOC later.
Originally posted by warpboost
Reading this link posted earlier about tapping undersea cables gave me a thought.
From that article it sounds like nobody will talk about what tapping fiber actually involves and maybe it can't even be done?
> The article points out that even if they can tap the cable, there's another problem: making sense of that much data.
I think the later argument is just as disengenuous as the late 60's Bell System officials who said exactly the same thing about the open unencrypted microwave radio telephone links of that era. Both those microwave links and the undersea fibers contain highly structured and organized information streams - individual voice channels, T1s, T3s, IP streams, wideband data circuits are not at all difficult to extract from the composite traffic and mapping the layout of the whole river of information is by no means overwhelmingly difficult (and might be aided by quiet help from the carriers or individual employees of the carriers). And the mapping tends to be pretty static over time, or at least to change in predictable ways. Finding and recording the most interesting circuits is by no means an insurmountable task - nor is filtering out most of the stuff that isn't interesting. The only hard problem is if the NSA insists on groveling through absolutely everything sent, but this is true of their problem in general these days and not just special to undersea cables. And clearly the right undersea cables contain an awful lot of useful stuff if you are the NSA...
The much more interesting problem that gets rather short shrift in the WSJ article is how the real time time critical intercepts get from a submarine hiding in stealth 1200 feet under the ocean to Fort Meade and then to policy makers. Some fraction of the traffic is still interesting after weeks or months when tapes or disks can be flown back to Fort Meade but much more of it is only useful if it is available within seconds or minutes during a crisis and not weeks or months later. Traditional microwave radio and satellite intercepts get back to Fort Meade or the RSOCs in milliseconds but as more and more traffic flows through cables that can only be tapped by hiding billion dollar nuclear submarines a lot of the timeliness of NSA operations goes away.
One key point everyone seems to have missed: more than 90% of the world's submarine cables make landfall at least once on the territory of a UKUSA nation, where tapping is a lot easier, particularly if the owner of the cable is cooperative. And there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that cooperation has taken place.
For example, much of the trans-Pacific cables' capacity is reserved for pass-through traffic, Asian traffic that is carried across North America and on to Europe, Africa or South America.