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Fourth Undersea Cable Taken Offline In Less Than a Week

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the bad-week-to-be-a-backbone-cable dept.

Communications 499

An anonymous reader writes "Another undersea cable was taken offline on Friday, this one connecting Qatar and UAE. 'The [outage] caused major problems for internet users in Qatar over the weekend, but Qtel's loss of capacity has been kept below 40% thanks to what the telecom said was a large number of alternative routes for transmission. It is not yet clear how badly telecom and internet services have been affected in the UAE.' In related news it's been confirmed that the two cables near Egypt were not cut by ship anchors." Update: 02/04 07:13 GMT by Z : A commenter notes that despite the language in the article indicated a break or malfunction, the cable wasn't cut. It was taken offline due to power issues.

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499 comments

Cue... (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287790)

...the bombs in 3... 2... 1...

Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action, or a direct attack on Iran's about-to-launch Euro-based oil market?

4 cuts, as far as I am concerned, is no co-incidence. I literally expect to turn on the TV and see bombs falling any day now. Economy down, turn up the war machine. It really is a common historical sequence.

Re:Cue... (4, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287804)

Well the Pentagon has recently declared the internet as an enemy weapons system.

[Citation Needed] --NT (2, Insightful)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287820)

[Citation Needed] --NT

Dear Overzealous Mod (-1, Offtopic)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288086)

What's "offtopic" about asking for a citation?
Douchebag...

Re:Dear Overzealous Mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288218)

Most people here on Slashdot are smart enough to do a simple Google query [google.com] before they ask for citations. Doing otherwise decreases the signal-to-noise ratio. This isn't Wikipedia. We don't need to cite our comments if a simple search will pull up the results. If you can't find the information with a simple search only then is it ok to ask for a citation.

This is the way it has to be on a technical discussion board. If somebody is talking bullshit it will be quickly found as this board is filled with technical experts. If you don't understand, then it is only up to you to fix your problem.

Re:Cue... (3, Insightful)

Sangloth (664575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287838)

Although I can't pretend to explain what happened with the cables, I think it's safe to say that we aren't going to war with Iran in the immediate future. It would be political suicide for any politician who supported it, (the Iraq war is no longer popular with the electorate), and we are headed to an election. If we wanted to turn up the war machine, Iraq and Afganistan both offer locations to do it at.

Sangloth
I'd appreciate any comment with a logical basis... it doesn't even have to agree with me.

Re:Cue... (4, Insightful)

J'raxis (248192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287856)

It would be political suicide indeed, for a politician to start a war shortly before an election -- in which he was running. Bush isn't.

Re:Cue... (2, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287864)

No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory.

Re:Cue... (2, Insightful)

bikerider7 (1085357) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287898)

No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory.
If another war was started, Democrats would line up in support. Gotta support the troops.

Re:Cue... (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287970)

Watch the media... they are a fairly good indicator of what Democrats are thinking.

Republican neo-cons (my mouth feels foul, saying that) are much harder to predict. You generally only see them publicly when they are reacting.

Re:Cue... (1)

Sangloth (664575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288096)

Howard Dean, an essentially unknown politician with no following gained a very large amount of donations. I think reasonable people would agree that what made Dean attractive to all the donor's was that Dean was consistently against the Iraq war from day 1. While Dean did eventually fail to be nominated, his success at fund-raising had attracted the attention of other democrats. Look at Hillary's vocal defense during this election that she was not in fact voting for the war, but further action through the UN. She and other democrat's see the advantage to be anti-war, and would not make the same mistake twice.
Given how a seemingly clear cut reason to war (WMD) has been undercut, I think no democrats and few republicans would fund another pre-emptive war.

Sangloth
I'd appreciate any comment with a logical basis...it doesn't even have to agree with me.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288162)

When I hear the name Howard Dean, I cannot stop myself from hearing that scream. I think that has something to do with his campaign

Re:Cue... (2, Informative)

demachina (71715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288060)

"No, but the Republican party still wants a chance at this election. If another war was started, it would guarantee a Democrat victory."

Not if you manage an effective propaganda campaign to con the American people in to thinking that they and their children are in imminent danger. It would be somewhat harder to do this time around because everyone is a little jaded from Iraq... It would still be quite possible to use an imagined threat from Iran to actually win an election as long as you are willing to kill a few Americans to get the fear rolling. The Republican's won the 2002 and 2004 elections at least partially based on fear mongering about 9/11 and Iraq, that and skillful use of wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion.

All you would need is another 9/11 scale attack, an attack where you could implicate Iran even if they had nothing to do with it, real or fabricated evidence of an Iranian built nuke, and a repeat of something like the Anthrax letters that followed 9/11.

The neocon cabal, The New American Century [newamericancentury.org] had pretty brazenly outlined the importance of modern Pearl Harbors to advance their agenda, and lucky them, they got one on 9/11, followed by a couple more in the London and Madrid bombings.

Those Anthrax letters are the most disturbing indicator of a government conspiracy, even if 9/11 wasn't, where someone killed a small number of Americans in order to create a panic about weapons of mass destruction so it could be used as the propaganda lever to get the American people to support invading Iraq. All indications are the Anthrax came out of American bioweapons labs, not from some Middle Eastern terrorist. You also note the American government made absolutely no progress in finding the responsible party even though they know where the Anthrax came from.

I still remember the run up to Iraq war where Fox News was running news stories suggesting Saddam was going to use drones to spray American cities with chemical and biological weapons. It was complete insanity and blatantly fabrication .... but it worked. Anything is possible if you control an effective propaganda machine.

I'm the first to admit its a little unlikely, but the Neocons are starting to regain some of their malevolent self confidence since things have calmed down some in Iraq. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they are considering ginning up a war with Iran in time to start a new and furious round of flag waving and lapel pins for the next election.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288126)

Actually it would favor a Republican candidate for us to be in a time of war. Look at the last election. If we weren't in a time of war I doubt Bush would have made it past Kerry.

Republicans and Independents rally around conservative candidates in a time of war.

That said, I don't think the current President is really thinking about the next candidate. He's thinking about his own legacy. Despite some calling him the worst president ever, he is the divine messenger that delivered God's word to radical islamists. Wiping out Iran, in his mind, would eventually be seen as heroic in the eyes of history. He realizes the execution could have gone better like everyone else. But he is deeply convinced this clusterfuck is going down as one of the greatest accomplishments of an American President. And the scary thing is there is that 20% of the country that seems to be behind him on that.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22287874)

But what does Bush care? He can't be re-elected, so no worries for him. All bonuses for he and Cheney's friends at Haliburton. And the republican Congress? They can claim it was no idea/fault of theirs. Just something Bush got us into, and of course, we can't just pull out an leave the place in chaos (same reason for staying in Iraq).

4 cuts in a week is scaring me bad about what politicians with nothing left to lose might do for their friends.

Re:Cue... (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287892)

Although I can't pretend to explain what happened with the cables, I think it's safe to say that we aren't going to war with Iran in the immediate future. It would be political suicide for any politician who supported it

Technically speaking, I'm pretty sure Bush can *start* a war without having to get approval from Congress. Continuing it requires congressional approval, but we've all seen how hard it is to stop a war once it's going...

Re:Cue... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288050)

I thought so too, and I remember a figure of 90 days being mentioned, but I can't seem to find the relevant passage in the Constitution.

Re:Cue... (2, Informative)

Oswald (235719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288142)

I can't tell if you're being facetious or not. The law you're talking about isn't in the Constitution (and is considered by many an abdication of Congress's Constitutionally-mandated duty); it's the War Powers Resolution of 1973 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22287842)

OK someone, anyone smarter than me

sort this out FAST

something is up, and it's not about ships dragging answers

what the HELL is about to happen?

Re:Cue... (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287894)

The theory I lean to is the installation of NSA or CIA wiretaps.

Re:Cue... (1)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288080)

If the NSA or the CIA wanted to these wires they would have done so without damage.

I expect the NSA already has taps on all these lines anyway.

Re:Cue... (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287848)

Either they're preparing for war or the conspiracy theories about the NSA installing wiretaps are true... Or maybe there's a design flaw in modern submarine cables that's just causing things to fail now, but that's probably just wishful thinking.

I hope this is just a bizarre coincidence. I really don't want to see World War III. I wish the US would stop trying to impose themselves on the rest of the world. It's cost too many lives already. I was hoping that within the year Bush would be out of office and someone more reasonable would be in (Obama maybe?) but if this escalates, I expect Bush will just declare emergency wartime powers to hold on to his throne for as long as possible.

Re:Cue... (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287994)

I wish the US would stop trying to impose themselves on the rest of the world.

I don't think this is the U.S. The U.S. would make sure to cut all the cables at once, therefore ensuring maximum disruption and surprise at the time of the attack. The way this is being done is slow and relatively uncoordinated. Which suggests either a probing maneuver or a lack of resources.

The U.S. is fairly straightforward with its objectives. The brass doesn't like taking things slowly when it comes to war. The plan is to get in, blow stuff up, rebuild the critical infrastructure, then leave. It doesn't always work that way (e.g. Iraq), but it is the ideal scenario that every General and Admiral desires. Long and protracted wars are far too costly. Not just to the U.S. itself, but also on a personal level for the brass.

Which raises the question: Who would gain from slowly cutting international Internet access in the Middle East? The myriad of plausible answers contrasted with the lack of any solid suspects scares me a hell of a lot more than any U.S. military operations. IMHO, it's in the best interest of the U.S. to find out what is going on NOW. Something big may be coming down the pipeline in the middle east. If and when it comes, it's not going to be pleasant.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288076)

Long and protracted wars are far too costly. Not just to the U.S. itself, but also on a personal level for the brass.

Yeah, it must be hell for them, sitting in those nice, safe (often stateside) command centers and sending all those soldiers off to get maimed and killed. I can see how that could take its toll on a guy.

Islamic Fundamentalists cuting cables? (1)

spineboy (22918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288090)

Why not them? I can see them railing against all the infidel ideas that are carried thru the web/T.V./etc, but then again, they also use the internet heavily to recruit, and communicate with their future recruits.
Any other players looking to make a hit? Countries vs groups?
China - they need oil, and are thinking of themselves as a, if not the superpower.
Russia looking to exert more influence?

Which countries are most affected by the black outs. Do they benefit Iran, or maybe Israel

Coincidence (probably not)

Can't see the USA doing it - except for the CIA, since public perception of new war activities are really, really not popular with the general citizen right now.

War is never straight (2, Insightful)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288168)

he plan is to get in, blow stuff up, rebuild the critical infrastructure, then leave. It doesn't always work that way (e.g. Iraq)


  1. Vietnamn
  2. Korea
  3. Somalia
  4. Iraq

Also in terms of any intelligence related action (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288196)

The last thing you want to do is alert the enemy that they have a potential problem and give them time to fix it. For example suppose you discovered that all military telephones were routed through a single building in a country you were going to attack. The system was supposed to have some redundancy, but they didn't know that it ends up all relying on the one centre. So what you do then is hit it coinciding with the start of your attack. Suddenly, all their communications are down and they are being attacked. Makes it hard to deal with either.

What you don't do is send in some guy to much with it, take their communications down, then do nothing, then still do nothing as they fix it and start to work on alleviating the problem in the future. That is even less useful than just leaving it alone.

As a precursor to military action, something like this makes sense only if idiots are running the show. Not only is it going to do no real good (who gives a shit if civilians can't get on the Internet? It is the internal military links that are the issue) but it makes it less likely that any sort of complete blackout would be achieved. I guarantee the companies involved in this aren't just going to fix the cable and go "Ok well that'll probably never happen again." They are going to try and figure out why this happened, and what can be done to prevent it.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288056)

I hope that [preferred candidate] gets into office to fix the mess [incumbent that I don't like] made. I'm sure that [incumbent that I don't like] will assume emergency wartime powers to stay in office.

Replace the word Bush in your sentence with Clinton and you have what the right-wing whack jobs were saying toward the end of the nineties. Welcome to the left-wing whack job category... enjoy your stay.

Re:Cue... (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288078)

I realize this is Slashdot, and everything runs with an anti-American bent around here these days, but you're ignoring several other possibilities that are just as likely as a botched attempt at installing fiber taps or the prelude to a war.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288152)

I realize this is Slashdot, and everything runs with an anti-American bent around here these days, but you're ignoring several other possibilities ...

Well I'm as anti-American as they come, but my first thought was, the fundies are cutting the internet cables to stop to corrupting influence of western media ...

Re:Cue... (4, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287852)

It does seem like it's not coincidence, but I just don't see the link between this and an attack on Iran. What could possibly be the connection between two cables in Egypt, and us bombing Iran? Do you honestly think that people within the agency that created this network are foolish enough to think that even several more of these cuts will stop the flow of traffic? It's more likely that a middle eastern group is doing this to reduce western influence without any real grasp on just how resilient the network is.

Re:Cue... (1)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288178)

Well, if we're playing conspiracy game theory, there are a lot of possibilities.

Maybe it's a series of tests designed to figure out how resilient the networks are, and what the fiber operators' response times are? Could be the U.S., or it could be others.

Another possibility is it's a show of force by a James-Bond-villain style extortionist. "Pay me a billion dollars, Q'atar, or your internet lines will be cut just like this! Moo-hoo-huh-huh-hah-hah-hah!" Maybe we should all be on the lookout for a large underwater city, owned by Stromberg Enterprises...

Other possibilities (2, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287908)

Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action
There are other possibilities. Recall that the FBI shut down [bbc.co.uk] Muslim websites hosted in Texas on Sep. 7, 2001. Depending on who you think was responsible for 9/11, it could have either been a futile attempt to prevent 9/11, or a successful attempt to keep Muslims from organizing a peaceful or violent protest against being blamed for 9/11. Since I am in the latter camp, I was pleasantly surprised that the Superbowl went off without a hitch, especially given that the Patriots were playing.

Another possibility is mere cyber warfare (without escalation to a hot war) -- to prevent the much-feared electronic transactions conducted by Iran in Euros rather than dollars.

Finally, don't discount the possibility of a combination of these. Powerful interests rarely do something for a single purpose. E.g., the communications disruption could facilitate a false flag now (perhaps Super Tuesday/Fat Tuesday), which would lead to a U.S. attack on Iran made easier by the same communications blackout -- all coincidentally happening just in time to stop the Iranian Oil Burse.

I wish I did know what was going on -- I'm spooked.

Re:Other possibilities (1)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288054)

It's not just Fat Tuesday, it's Super Tuesday: as of Tuesday half of the delegates to each presidential primary will be selected, and it's not impossible that we will have the winning candidates all but certain.

Re:Other possibilities (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288192)

There is also a possibility that this is an operation by some Islamic group that is looking to make a statement to the middle east or try to stop the spread of western culture and values.

What doesn't make sense about American involvement in this is that it seems to lack subtlety. We build or design most of the networking equipment that is used on the Internet backbone, and the NSA probably knows all of the backdoors to that equipment (and if it isn't American built, the NSA still probably has backdoors into it). So why would we go around damaging the communications infrastructure that is also used by our "allies" in the region to lock out Iran when we could just hack some routing tables and knock them offline>

Or if we were installing fiber taps, why would the US Navy continue with that operation when more than one operation was botched? One cable could be explained away, but multiple cable breaks over the course of a week would arouse suspicion, and the last thing an intel operation would want is suspicion that it is actually occurring.

There has got to be some other factor at play here. Perhaps Iran is about to undertake an internal purge and doesn't want the word leaking out over the web. Maybe some militants are trying to stop the spread of western ideas into the Middle East. Perhaps China is pulling a false-flag to raise suspicion of the US. These are just as likely as some attempt by Americans to forestall a switch from the dollar to the Euro.

Re:Cue... (5, Interesting)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287938)

You're not thinking outside of the tin-foil box.
These are obviously failed attempts to tap internet traffic.
The NSA has long been rumored to be able to live splice [zdnet.com]
undersea fibre optic cables.

Re:Cue... (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288046)

I can do live splices about 10% of the time without the link going down on 10 gig optics without the right tools on dry land.

Re:Cue... (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288210)

If it's a splice, it's the sloppiest splice in history.

You really think, if any of the potential targets have any reason to even imagine this was a splice, that they won't have divers down there to check, ASAP?

A wire tap your target notices is a failed wiretap.
A wire tap that causes catastrophic infrastructure failure is... worse than failure.

Nonsense (1)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288006)

Iran's enemies are currently all more Internet-savvy than Iran.

Severing Iran's connections would hinder Iran's enemies' surveillance activities more than Iran.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288074)

"A communications disruption can mean only one thing - invasion."

Re:Cue... (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288122)

Seriously, do you really think the US television would even report on it?
Wars aren't that popular anymore, so it's probably not a good idea to brag about it in the media.

The war will start soon, but probably the only tv station reporting about it will be Al Jazeera International.

Re:Cue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288136)

I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I mentioned it to one person, and they dismissed it. But I too think it's the precursor to a US military strike on Iran, or at least on Iran's economy.

Is 4 cuts really out of the ordinary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288150)

is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action
The reason they cut telecommunications links before a war is to force the enemy to use insecure networks, because their secure ones are undergoing a physical denial of service attack. Enemies using insecure networks are extremely easy to eavesdrop on using existing equipment dating back a few decades. It'd be a far greater tactical advantage to allow the enemies to communicate with each other insecurely (while you can read it) than by blowing your intelligence source (cutting all their communications so they can't organize themselves). You'd hear about where enemy troops are moving and hence where to drop the bombs. If you cut all the cables and lose your intelligence sources, you wouldn't know where to drop your bombs.

And if there is someone trying to wiretap those fiber cables, why would they raise an alarm by cutting so many cables in such a short period of time? Unless there is some VERY urgent intelligence they're expecting, it simply doesn't make sense. The enemy would be alerted and would:
a) know that previous communications over the cut fiber's were most likely not being tapped yet
b) be able to send fake information/intelligence down certain fiber's knowing that there is a greater chance it'll be read
c) double check their systems to ensure they're using strong cryptography for all their communications

Have you even considered the problem of how to process and send data back to the USA from somewhere underneath the ocean on the other side of world? You'd need to have some form of parallel optical fiber or a submarine sitting on top of the cable with an inbuilt mini-datacentre. We're talking about a lot of internet backbone bandwidth.

4 cuts, as far as I am concerned, is no co-incidence.
What historical data on undersea cable cuts do you have to support your claim?

Could this simply be a case of undersea cable cuts being the focus of media attention at the moment (especially because it is in the Middle East)?

Increased tectonic plate [wikipedia.org] movement in that part of the world?

Re:Cue... (3, Insightful)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288158)

Nah... if bombs were about to start falling, their internal communications would be the targets--not their international connections. What are they doing to do, send an email to call for help to repel an attack? Plus the communications would be attacked pretty much simultaneously to an attack--not days ahead of the attack.

I'd agree that someone is deliberately doing this, but I don't think it's the U.S. and I don't think it's a precursor to an attack on Iran. There's just very little military value in doing so--especially days ahead of an attack which, if anything, would tip the enemy off and allow them to prepare.

No, something interesting is afoot. And as much as people want to blame everything on Bush, I don't think he's responsible for this. Someone is, though.

Re:Cue... (2, Interesting)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288172)

Following-up on the my previous message, I almost can imagine this as a "proof of concept" cyber-attack. Someone is cutting cables to see what is affected, how badly, and how quickly it is repaired. And they're showing they can do it. So it could be a probing attack to see what kind of damage they can do in a physical cyber-attack. Or maybe someone's thinking they can do this and try to hold the Internet hostage--"A billion in my account by tomorrow or we shut down the international Internet... we already showed you we can do it."

Re:Cue... (4, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288190)

...the bombs in 3... 2... 1...

Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't think this is either a precursor to military action, or a direct attack on Iran's about-to-launch Euro-based oil market?

4 cuts, as far as I am concerned, is no co-incidence. I literally expect to turn on the TV and see bombs falling any day now. Economy down, turn up the war machine. It really is a common historical sequence.

I think it's going to be the end of the world. The four horsemen draw near. OMG FOUR horsemen?! Coincidence? I don't think so.

Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (4, Funny)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287796)

Sounds like a concerted effort to isolate muslim nations, to me. Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE. We're looking for airplanes aiming for buildings and they're attacking the world under the sea with a pair of clippers and a web cam.

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287830)

Question is... US or some other country cutting off the Muslim nations or is a Muslim organization cutting itself off and imposing that on the rest of the Middle East?

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287834)

One would think that using a web cam to cut undersea fiber might be somewhat selfdefeating...

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287932)

they're attacking the world under the sea with a pair of clippers and a web cam

Ok, I am trying to imagine a scenario of using clippers and a web cam to cut an undersea cable but I guess my imagination is not as good as yours. Sharks with laser beams attached to their heads, now that's a different story

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288130)

Singapore? Where exactly do you think Singapore is? Hint: it's not near central Asia.

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (2, Funny)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288184)

>effort to isolate muslim nations, to me. Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, UAE.

Yeah, take that Islamic Republic of Singapore!

Christ, even our tin-foiled conspiracy nuts cant be bothered to do the basic research, guess thats why they're conspiracy nuts.

Re:Could be war -- or an attempt at self-isolation (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288222)

To self isolate, you don't need to cut undersea cables.

You just turn off the routers on the border, and pass a law making them illegal to operate.

The cable was not cut - Bad summary, bad! (5, Informative)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287860)

RTFA: The cable was not cut, it was taken offline due to power problems.

> the problem is related to the power system and not the result of a ship's anchor cutting the cable, as is thought to be the case in the other three incidents.

Re:The cable was not cut - Bad summary, bad! (1)

nysus (162232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287936)

Thanks for posting. Saved me for screaming RTFA!

Re:The cable was not cut - Bad summary, bad! (2, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288140)

That's the thing about slashdot. I could have pretended to post an excerpt that read "the US acknowledged that at least 2 of the 'broken' cables were caused by failed attempts to splice and intercept communications", and at least 2 people would have believed it!

Cable Not Cut; Cable Merely 'Damaged' (5, Insightful)

n dot l (1099033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288010)

The entire sentence you quoted from is:

The cause of damage is not yet known, but ArabianBusiness.com has been told unofficially the problem is related to the power system and not the result of a ship's anchor cutting the cable, as is thought to be the case in the other three incidents.
So it's really a question of what "damage" means in this case. Are we talking about a mundane problem that happens on a regular basis (which was only reported due to all the other links going down at around the same time) or did a component that almost never fails suddenly break down under mysterious circumstances?

Not to run against the whole "this could mean only one thing" meme, but I think it's just as likely that some old hardware sitting at the ends of that cable got stressed past its breaking point because having the other links down finally pushed it past its limits.

Re:The cable was not cut - Bad summary, bad! (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288092)

RTFA: The cable was not cut, it was taken offline due to power problems.

Back-atcha. The article states that the cable may be offline due to power problem, not that it was taken offline. A rather significant difference. If you don't mind, I'm going to privately freak a bit until we find out who or what caused all these outages. If it's just incompetence, I'll be a happy panda. (Not to mention rolling my eyes at the all-to-common situation.) If it's more than just that...

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action. The fourth? The fourth is a testament to the Internet's ability to withstand damage. Even if it is the coincidence out of the bunch, that doesn't preclude enemy action. Quite the contrary, I'm afraid. :-/

deliberate? still don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22287886)

I really doubt the U.S. is behind these cable failures. Cutting off their internets doesn't really mean a damn, not only that but it appears to be highly ineffective as these countries are simply routing their internet connections through land cables. The U.S. government wouldn't just cut these cables without any planning, they would have realized it wouldn't work before they even attempted it.

That said, it is suspicious that four cables have been severed in so short a time, but if it's a deliberate action, it's not the U.S. government behind it. It would more likely be some incompetent, rogue group that doesn't know what it's doing.

Re:deliberate? still don't think so (5, Funny)

Stealth Potato (619366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288170)

...it's not the U.S. government behind it. It would more likely be some incompetent, rogue group that doesn't know what it's doing.
So, like the United States Government then? :-D

Testing the system.. (3, Interesting)

GregPK (991973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287890)

If you think about it long-term.

If you are a terrorist and you want to cause mass chaos. How would you do it?

You'd most likely want to create some form of confusion or distraction before hitting your main target.

I'd think this a precursor to a bigger plot. If I was thinking along these lines I'd be cutting them and seeing what the end results are. If I could label and see which ones do what and invoke certain responses then I'd wait before doing it again. The next time I'd probably create something that acted via a timer. This way I could attack, destroy communications, then attack again creating chaos and confusion. Through a very specific set time.

However, the counter arguement here is that anything they can do to the LAN cables we could easily counter-act with wireless transmission as Satellites are more than capable of carrying the necessary data for communication. This pretty much only isolates the European world from the internet, which isn't going to do much on the grand scheme of things.

The Plot is probably thicker but not much by my guess. Unless the NSA is using the downtime to break the cable elsewhere and run off thier own data spying cable via the lines. I doubt it..

Re:Testing the system.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288040)

I would think terror would be less effective without the internet around to help spread the news. If a bomb goes out in california, people in new york would be a lot more panicked with their internet on than with it off.

Re:Testing the system.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288180)

However, the counter arguement here is that anything they can do to the LAN cables we could easily counter-act with wireless transmission as Satellites are more than capable of carrying the necessary data for communication.

Absolutely not. Satellites don't have anywhere close to the bandwidth that fiber cables do, and the latency sucks on satellite connections.

Order of Battle (5, Informative)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287910)

From Sun Tzu (IIRC):

1. Attack the plan - Futility
2. Attack the alliances - Division
3. Attack the resources - Frustration
4. Attack the army in the field - Attrition
5. Attack the cities - Destruction

The costs increase with each step, which is why the cities are last. Good, proactive intellegence and operatives can prevent things from happening. If not, they can foul things up so they can't happen. Communications is a resource, so it looks like step 3 is on the table.

Someone is demonstrating a capability. (1)

warrigal (780670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287922)

They are demonstrating it to Middle Eastern states. "We can isolate you just like that". Now, who would want to do that? The West could do it without resorting to destroying valuable assets. Just block the countries. This has to be someone who can't do that but wants the power to do so.

Re:Someone is demonstrating a capability. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288124)

This has to be someone who can't do that but wants the power to do so.

4 is pushing the coincidence meter too far, but I have to agree with you that it's unlikely that the US is doing this. The US has already demonstrated that they've got all the secret AT&T rooms they need to tap all of the traffic without having to resort to taking down the connection to install more hardware. A couple of seconds to plug the other end of the cable into the CIA router, and it would barely register as a blip on someone's hardware monitor.

Re:Someone is demonstrating a capability. (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288134)

If they were really isolating them, I would agree that its' a demo... but they still have phones, TV, sat com, etc... they are reduced but not isolated.

Since phone lines run on some of the same cables this might not have anything to do with internet taps/routes.

I would agree that 4 in such a short period of time is news worth and odd.

Underwater Backhoes? (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287950)

I know that every time there's an internet outage at our university it's usually a backhoe. Backhoes are the natural enemy of the Internet. Anyway, this is disturbing and fascinating at the same time. The reason why the Internet was design the way it was so that it could survive an nuclear war even if the networks became fragmented. In a way this is an interesting test of the design, but it does have disturbing overtones given that it's happening in the Middle East. That being said I think there are three possibilities as to who or what is responsible: Mossad, CIA, or underwater backhoes. Which do you think is the most plausible and least paranoid?

Re:Underwater Backhoes? (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287990)

The reason why the Internet was design the way it was so that it could survive an nuclear war even if the networks became fragmented.
Not exactly [wikipedia.org]

I already posted telling you what was happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288026)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=438002&cid=22258696 [slashdot.org]

I don't guess people will be as derogatory this time. There is a reason to post some things on anonymous coward. This isn't about interception of specific data/tapping -- this is about, byte-for-byte, copying everything that goes through those cables without causing any detectable interference. They MUST bring down the cables to install the new system. New cables will not be "cut" because they will have the hardware installed before the cables are brought online.

New tricks by AT&T ... (3, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288058)

... and the NSA to wiretape the Intarweb from internaional waters. Sounds crazy, I know, but no more so than 4 "accidents" in a week. Mark my words, there are black-ops undersea stations anchored to the bottom ocean. Damn, there's a book in there somewhere...

Don't Jump To Conclusions (1)

St. Dogbert (1232194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288110)

Give it another couple of days and it will still turn out to be ship's anchors that caused the problem.

Tests in preparation for a US government invasion? (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288112)

To me, cutting cables seems like something some people in the U.S. government would do, testing its control over communications before invading a Muslim country. In the past few months, the U.S. government has been trying to get people excited about invading Iran, for example. I've taught Iranian students English as a volunteer, and people from other countries, too, and I can tell you from personal experience that many Iranians are very good people. I think the attempt to demonize them is extremely dishonest.

I hope that U.S. citizens and people everywhere in the world will begin to realize that a few oil and weapons investors and others have taken control over the U.S. government, and that those who have control are becoming more and more mentally unbalanced, as is usually true of people who emphasize control and money in their lives.

Another influence toward unbalance are Jews in the U.S. who support Israel against the interests of the country in which they live, and, frankly, against the long-term interests of Israel. Israelis feel threatened by some of the surrounding Muslim countries, and want U.S. taxpayers to pay for Israeli security. But more violence will never create more security. There are only approximately 14,000,000 Jews in the world, and getting into gun battles with 1.2 billion Muslims does not enhance the security or quality of life of Jews.

A further unbalancing influence is many of those in the U.S. who call themselves evangelists; they believe they are superior to the rest of us, and that their particular preferred killing is the "work of God". Karl Rove manipulated the evangelists by having George W. Bush pretend to be Christian. An evangelist associated with the Bush administration wrote a book about that which I read, but I don't have the title readily available.

What is required to fix this situation is an understanding that the problem at the top of the U.S. government is an outbreak of mental illness, and should be treated as such. More violence is not the answer.

Those who run the U.S. government, apparently Cheney and others, may be hastening their activities, because they need to do some of what they want to do before George W. Bush is out of office.

Re:Tests in preparation for a US government invasi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22288216)

Summary of above post: "With my tinfoil hat properly secured, I will begin demonstrating the true extent of my bigotry."

Re:Tests in preparation for a US government invasi (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288224)

cutting cables seems like something some people in the U.S. government
Nope.
I would think it of something like a false-flag operation against iran.

The Industry knows that whoever comes to power in 2008 would pullout troops from Iraq. This essentially leaves Iran as a free power.
Secondly, with the Housing crisis unfolding, the economy is going to tailspin.
To prevent 1929-1933 depression, the only way is to fund a new war.

To fund it requires support of an increasingly reluctant US citizens who are loathe to fund a war.

So, what to do?
I would not be surprised if an enemy-agent is caught in act of cutting and that agent speaks arabic, especially Persian.
That would give US a convenient way to say Iran is delibrately disrupting communications, because it is testing nukes.

Strenous protests by Iran would be of no use.

And who gets to benefit when Iran is wiped out, removing 2 out of 2 major military powers of the middle-east?

By september '08, war is certain.

The hastily signed laws that republicans voted for will come to bite the citizens, when liberties are suspended, and people forced to vote for Cheney (who will reluctantly stand for election).

It could be a coincidence (2, Informative)

Lavene (1025400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288132)

It could be a coincidence that four cables got cut. It could also be a coincidence that we see a clear increase in the propaganda from the "coalition" right now that the connectivity for the "enemy" is poor...

I guess this means... (4, Funny)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288138)

...that the Old Ones are finally stirring. Must be part of that Cthulhu For President 2008 campaign.

Scrap metal? (1, Interesting)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288148)

I imagine these cables are worth a lot in scrap metal terms. Is it possible that this is all some crazy thieves in it for the money?

Re:Scrap metal? (1)

zof888 (1149007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288206)

fiber is glass, glass is relatively useless unless you pull up a significant portion of the cable, sure there is some copper but not enough to get a boat and go pull it up.

Foul play? sure but what reason do the western cultures have for doing it you paranoid bastards? The internet is a great western indoctrination tool, brings our culture and beliefs to all corners of the world, seems counter productive to cut the lines that spread our message.

Here is an interesting link (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288182)

Sorcha Faal thinks Bush ordered to have the cables damaged as a payback for the humiliation during his trip to Saudi Arabia: link [whatdoesitmean.com]

Another, also likely reason is to prevent Saudis from accessing the SWIFT network (read the link about the why.) This, however, is just delaying the inevitable.

Cloverfield Promo? (4, Funny)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22288188)

It's not an overly elaborate promotional thing for a Middle-East release of Cloverfield is it?

I mean, we're all getting bored of the alternate reality web thingies these films do to hype themselves before release, so it sort of makes sense to kick it up a notch (bam!)
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