- - Friday, December 15, 2017

British defense officials have warned that Russia, in addition to possibly Iran and China, pose an existential threat to the Western way of life by developing capabilities to target undersea communications cables that carry 97 percent of all digital traffic and $10 trillion in daily financial transactions.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the defense staff, in speaking to the Royal United Services Institute defense think tank, said Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication. He said it would “immediately and potentially catastrophically” hit the economy if they were cut or disrupted, reported the BBC.

Russia in particular has been active in developing, and using, hybrid warfare techniques which include targeting communications and disinformation. Most of the cables are unprotected in international waters. The increasing submarine threat from Moscow has concerned NATO defense officials greatly. Using unconventional asymmetric warfare could cripple Western defenses and strike a severe economic blow to NATO member states.

Nato’s former top military Chief Admiral Stavridis recently said: “We’ve allowed this vital infrastructure to grow increasingly vulnerable and this should worry us all,” wrote BBC. “It is not satellites in the sky, but pipes on the ocean floor that form the backbone of the world’s economy.”

“There is a new risk to our way of life, which is the vulnerability of the cables that criss-cross the seabeds.

“Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted, which would immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living?” declared Sir Stuart.

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