Why hi-tech undersea cables are the real threat to national security
Almost 60 submarine cables link Britain to the rest of the world and it is becoming increasingly clear how vulnerable to sabotage they are
When the volcanic island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai erupted a week ago, the explosion was so powerful that it ripped the tiny speck of land asunder. Where before had stood one island, now stand two. A vast ash cloud rose miles into the sky. Tsunamis raced across the ocean, smashing into coastlines as far away as the east of Russia. Yet the devastation closer at hand, in the Tongan capital Nuku‘alofa, just 40 miles south, is still unclear.
In part that is due to a catastrophe hidden under the sea. Close to the volcano, concealed under the depths, lie two critical cables connecting Tonga to Fiji and the outside world. In the blink of an eye, they were severed. …
In a world in which warfare is increasingly conducted on the grey margins, where cyber attacks and sabotage are deniable, even while causing crippling damage, cables are a tempting target. For a start, they are magnificently unguarded, rolling up nondescript parts of our shoreline into unremarkable outbuildings, on beaches and in car parks. A report by the UK Centre for Protected Infrastructure described such cable landing stations as “poor in terms of physical security… an obvious risk”.
At sea their remoteness makes them impossible to monitor and guard. Not that Russia, or China, are always interested in severing our links. Sometimes, from their point of view, it is better to tap into them, to harvest the precious information they bear.
Nor is it just data cables on which our island nation depends. We rely, too, on a growing network of electricity ‘interconnectors’, which plug us into other countries’ national grids. There will soon be six, linking us to France, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark – enough to supply 25 per cent of our electricity requirements. Increasingly, our energy supply will also rely on subsea cables linking the mainland to offshore wind farms, where 2,297 turbines in 40 projects already generate 13 per cent of our total electricity. …
Perhaps the biggest difference between Britain and Tonga, however, is just how bad things could get were our cables to be cut. For a start, the financial system would probably collapse. The US Federal Reserve estimates that more than $10 trillion dollars are transmitted via undersea cables every day. The SWIFT system, which moves money between 11,000 financial institutions in millions of transactions each day, is dependent on cables. As Sunak puts it: “In such a highly interdependent world, the shockwaves resulting from a major cable disruption at a leading financial centre such as London… are potentially catastrophic. If an adversary were to succeed in executing a successful attack against Britain’s undersea cable infrastructure the result would be financial disaster on an unprecedented scale.”
The shockwaves would not merely be economic. Earlier this month, the incoming head of the UK’s armed forces, Admiral Tony Radakin, said that Russian activity could “put at risk and potentially exploit the world’s real information system, which is undersea cables that go all around the world”. Targeting them, he suggested, might be considered an “act of war”. …
The global map of subsea connections, then, is like a geopolitical dartboard, complete with high and low value targets. In the South Pacific Ocean, lonely Tonga’s is the latter, its single cable leaving it exposed purely to volcanoes. But Britain is a unique hub, like an Allied operator, sprouting a tangle of vital communication cords to America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It may just be the bullseye.
Here’s what we wrote on the subject back in 2018:
Your home Internet router and your national infrastructure are not the only cybervulnerabilities. Another lies in the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean, where North America and neighboring continents are connected by fiber-optic cables.
Some 400 fiber-optic cables lie beneath the oceans. Through these lines run phone calls, texts and Internet services. Every day, they carry $10 trillion in financial transactions.
Above these cables loiter Russian submarines. “We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don’t believe we have ever seen,” said the commander of nato submarine forces, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon. “Russia is clearly taking an interest in nato and nato nations’ undersea infrastructure.”
Cutting some of these lines would disrupt the flow of communications and transactions. But with so many cables, it would be hard to completely stop them. What is more likely is that the Russians are, again, laying groundwork, preparing for future disruption. …
“America is the greatest superpower this world has ever known,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in January 1995. “But we have a very vulnerable point in our military—our own Achilles’ heel. Exploiting this vulnerable point may trigger the greatest shock in the history of warfare!” He quoted Intelligence Digest, which wrote, “[T]he Gulf War showed what a critical role technology now plays in warfare. But the course of a battle would be very different if effective technology-sabotaging measures could be instituted against the superior force. … Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles’ heel, and within a few years this weakness could be tested to the full.”
Prophecy indicates that soon this vulnerability will be attacked. God recorded and preserved certain scriptures as a warning to us today. Notice what Mr. Flurry wrote in the May 2005 Trumpet:
I believe one key end-time Bible prophecy could well be fulfilled through … cyberterrorism …: “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof” (Ezekiel 7:14). The trumpet of war is to be blown in Israel—mainly America and Britain. … It seems everybody is expecting our people to go into battle, but the greatest tragedy imaginable occurs! Nobody goes to battle—even though the trumpet is blown! Will it be because of computer terrorism?
Trumpet contributor Josué Michels wrote last year, “Technology has finally caught up with a prophecy that was recorded more than 2,000 years ago.”
It’s time to use technology while you have it. Click on the library tab at the top of the page and order some of our free literature through this website. Get to know prophecy and God’s Word. Order your free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy. Did you know both nations have a large role in soon-coming prophecies?