Severed Submarine Fiber Cables In France Caused Global Connectivity Issues

At least three underwater fiber optic cables were severed in the south of France on Wednesday evening causing widespread Internet connectivity problems.

The severed cables in the Atlantic Ocean affected Internet access in Europe, Asia, and the United States resulting from packet loss and increased latency for websites and applications crossing the impacted pathways.

According to a report by cloud security vendor Zscaler, three broken linkages have been found by the company: Marseille-Lyon, Marseille-Milan, and Marseille-Barcelona. To address the problem, Zscaler has made as many routing changes to Internet traffic as possible. However, the operations were hampered in certain cases by application and content providers who continued to use the cut connections.

BBC reported that an underwater cable between the Shetland Islands and Scotland was damaged about the same time as the event in southern France. The cut seemed to have occurred when personnel were still attempting to repair another cable that connected the Faroe Islands to the Shetland and had been damaged a week before.

Multiple incidents in the European undersea fiber optic system are unlikely, yielding to a possibility of an intended sabotage with Russia as the prime suspect.

Free, a French cable operator and internet service provider, said repair crews were dispatched before daybreak Wednesday to deal with “an act of vandalism on our fiber infrastructure.”

The attacks were believed to be simultaneous and on numerous points of its fiber network near Marseille. Multiple wires were entirely broken in their concrete housings buried in the ground, according to photos posted on Twitter by Free. It said that the cuts caused significant delays to its network and phone services in the Marseille area.

Internet access was disrupted in various places around France, necessitating the dispatch of repair personnel in the middle of the night. The Paris prosecutor’s office began a preliminary inquiry and stated that the French internal intelligence service, known as the DGSI, as well as the judicial police, had been enlisted.

In that case, the prosecutor’s office initiated a preliminary inquiry on allegations of “damaging products of a nature to undermine the fundamental interests of the nation,” “obstruction of an automatic data processing system,” and criminal association.

The outages in Marseille were just a taste of what analysts say might be significantly worse difficulties in other circumstances if cables are deliberately targeted. The vulnerability of fiber-optic cables, particularly those located underwater, and other critical infrastructure was underlined last month by the sabotage of Russian natural gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.

Information for this briefing was found via The Washington Post, Netcost, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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