When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

04 February 2008

Dragging anchor

When two submarine telecom cables in the Mediterranean were cut last Wednesday, the outage was attributed to a ship anchor that severed the cables. When a third cable cut in the region was reported on Friday, it raised suspicions that there might be more to the outages than coincidence.

"I'm a security guy, and hence suspicious by nature," Columbia computer science professor Steve Bellovin wrote on the NANOG (North American Network Operators Group) mailing list. "The old saying comes to mind: 'once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but the third time is enemy action.'"

But list members who manage submarine fiber cables say such outages happen fairly often, but usually aren't noticed due to cable redundancy, which allows system operators to route around outages...

...other theories have emerged that might explain the proximity of the Mediterranean cable cuts... "One theory is that the cuts, reportedly caused by ships anchoring in rough seas, are actually a diversion to cover taps installed by a specially equipped submarine hundreds of miles away."

Datacenter Knowledge: Cable cuts, coincidences and conspiracies (3 Feb 08)

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