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Submarine Cables: Risks and Security Threats

Energy Industry Review: “99% of the internet network runs through submarine cables. It is estimated that over USD 10,000 billion in financial transactions run today through these “seabed highways”. This is especially the case of the main global financial exchange system, SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), which has recently been banned for many Russian banks. The security of these transactions is a political, economic, and social problem. This is a major issue that has long been ignored. The extreme geographic concentration of the cables makes them particularly vulnerable. There are over 420 submarine lines in the world, totalling 1.3 million kilometres, over three times the distance from Earth to Moon. Record: 39,000 kilometres length for the SEA-ME-WE 3 cable, which links South-East Asia to Western Europe through the Red Sea. Submarine internet cables have a crucial importance, like oil and gas pipelines. In the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the seabed is more than ever a battlefield that must be protected. Western armed forces are considering a nightmare scenario of total interruption of the Internet in Europe, as 99% of the global network runs through submarine cables. Satellites account for only 1% of data exchanges. The reason is simple: they cost more than cables and are infinitely slower.”

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