On the heels of the recently publicized internal review of the U.S. Navy’s cybersecurity, Lou Dobbs of Fox News discussed the current state of U.S. cyber warfare with Congressman Matt Gaetz, Asia expert Goron Chang and cyber security expert Morgan Wright.
In a report titled “The Red Storm Has Arrived”, Dobbs stated that China has been stealing IP and technology valued at hundreds of billions of dollars a year through cyber attacks and cyber warfare maneuvers against U.S. military without counterattacks by the United States.
During five years of attacks, the military was either unaware of the espionage or was unable to respond to and defend against these attacks.
Dobbs went on the discuss China’s apparent campaign for control of the global Internet grid.
Protecting “the cloud” under the ocean
At the very bottom of the ocean floor, there is a complex network of undersea fiber optic cables. Each cable is approximately as thick as a garden hose and can transmit enormous amounts of data per second.
These cables carry Internet, phone calls, emails and even banking transmissions between continents (and sometimes from one side of a continent to the other) at the speed of light.
Compared to satellite systems, fiber optic cables transmit data faster, more affordably and with greater stability.
Fiber optic technology uses light to encode information so the cables are not impacted by weather - unlike satellites which can experience failures due to “space weather” (solar flares, geomagnetic storms, etc.).
Undersea fiber optic cables are responsible for a large portion of the world's data transmission, so much so that many industry experts have made the point that the “cloud” is actually under the sea.
It stands to reason that any company or country with ownership of the underwater fiber optic cables could conceivably gain access to the information they are carrying and/or could disrupt the transmissions.
Over the last few years, China Telecom has been quietly but steadily replacing satellite stations in the South China Sea with fiber optic stations.
More recently, Huawei Marine - a subsidiary of the disgraced Huawei accused of adding malicious code that would permit data theft and monitoring to components of communications devices sold in the U.S. - has quietly become a dominant force in undersea fiber optic cables.
With Huawei Marine’s foray into fiber optics, China now controls nearly one-quarter of all underwater cables.
Unfortunately, according to Dobbs, the U.S. military has warned that China could disrupt divert or spy on data crossing through all of these lines but has not yet revealed a strategy to counter these nefarious actions.
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