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A little over a week ago, we were shocked at the news that Russia had rerouted all internet traffic of major sites like Google and Facebook by a Border Gateway Protocol attack. And this wasn’t their first BGP re-direct, either.

The security implemented on the BGP has come under fire before; earlier in 2017,  network traffic pertaining to a host of different financial services was briefly redirected via a telecom company operated by the Russian government, according to Ars Technica.

Exploiting security holes in traffic routing protocols, alarming as it is, is hardly the worst thing the Russians could do to the global network, though. They might, if they wished, simply shut down the whole enchilada, by the simple method of… Cutting the wires. No, really.

BRUSSELS — Russian submarines have dramatically stepped up activity around undersea data cables in the North Atlantic, part of a more aggressive naval posture that has driven NATO to revive a Cold War-era command, according to senior military officials.

The apparent Russian focus on the cables, which provide Internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe, could give the Kremlin the power to sever or tap into vital data lines, the officials said. Russian submarine activity has increased to levels unseen since the Cold War, they said, sparking hunts in recent months for the elusive watercraft.

Britain’s top military commander also warned that Russia could imperil the cables that form the backbone of the modern global economy. The privately owned lines, laid along the some of the same corridors as the first transatlantic telegraph wire in 1858, carry nearly all of the communications on the Internet, facilitating trillions of dollars of daily trade. If severed, they could snarl the Web. If tapped, they could give Russia a valuable picture of the tide of the world’s Internet traffic.

So concerned are NATO commanders about the threat, they are reviving a sub-hunting command that has been dormant since the end of the Cold War.

The unprecedented underwater activity comes while Russia is increasingly challenging NATO fighters in the air and encroaching on other nations’ airspace.

It’s looking more and more like Russia is on a war footing vis a vis the West, however Cold tht war may be for the moment.

As disturbing as that thought is, more alarming is the fact that the president of the United States refuses to acknowledge this growing threat and may, in fact, be abetting the foe. We are in strange waters.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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