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There are over 800,000 miles of communication cables lining the sea floor and circling continents. Around 95% of global internet traffic flows through those undersea cables. Justin Sherman, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, says it’s time the U.S. government got serious about ensuring the security and resiliency of those cables.

  • Sherman said the United States should engage in more outreach and diplomacy with overseas companies and governments that invest in the cables and work more with industry to incentivize better security.
  • The cables are at risk of physical damage from boats as well as hacking from other countries, particularly through vulnerable landing stations where the cables touch shorelines, explained Sherman.
  • He said he recommends the National Institute of Standards and Technology develop security best practices and the State Department work with other countries on cable cybersecurity.

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January 2022
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