Information Warfare Is Here To Stay

States Have Always Fought for the Means of Communication

A wireless station at Nauen, Germany, 1930 German Federal Archives / Bundesarchiv

We often forget that the Internet is not as wireless as it seems. Most online data still flow through physical fiber-optic cables laid out across several hundred thousand miles of ocean floor. If a shark were to bite through a cable (which has happened before), some or all of the Internet could come to a standstill.

These days, however, observers spend less time worrying about underwater fauna than about Russia’s submarines, which have been taking a special interest in ocean-bed cables in recent years. Since 2017, Russian submarines in the North Atlantic have reportedly been unusually active in the vicinity of undersea fiber-optic cables that carry most European and U.S. Internet traffic. It remains unclear what exactly Russia is planning or doing. The Russian activity may indicate an attempt to surveil the Pentagon’s secret cable network or plans to tamper with certain connections. But the reports also fit

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