Are sharks the most dangerous internet hackers because they can disrupt a large region’s internet coverage with just one bite?
By: Ringo Bones
Excuse the pun, but there has been recent undeniable proof that sharks can be more dangerous than the internet's most notorious black hat hackers. Forget the Mainland Chinese Unit 61398’s most coordinated DDOS attacks between 1999 and 2006, 13 incidences of broken underwater internet cables of previously unknown causes have been attributed to shark attacks after shark bite damage contained fragments of shark tooth – physical proof of a confirmed shark attack. The most recent one shut down Vietnam’s internet back in 2014.
Underwater cables are rather old tech that dates back to Victorian era telegraphy, and yet they provide a more reliable and cost-effective internet connectivity between continents and nation-states in comparison to the latest high-bandwidth digital communications satellites. Underwater telecommunication cables are often attack by sharks because their Ampullae of Lorenzini cause them to be attracted to the rather strong electromagnetic fields emitted by the high-current direct-current power supply of underwater cables.
At present, 75-million internet servers worldwide are connected via submarine telecommunications cables where 500,000 miles of underwater cables connect various landing stations that make everyone on the planet more or less connected. 41 cable repair ships currently service those underwater cables that carry our internet signals. In case of a shark attack incident, underwater cable repair currently costs about 10,000 US dollars a day.
But as the underwater cable reaches land and go subsurface, humans scavenging for scrap metal are as dangerous as sharks when it comes to disrupting the internet service. In 2011, a 75-year-old Georgian woman looking for scrap metal to sell in order to augment her meager government pension accidentally cut an underground telecommunications cable with her digging shovel, shutting down the internet services of Georgia and Armenia for 5-hours.