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PROTECTING THOSE UNDERWATER CABLES

Many regular readers here probably have heard of the Allied success at decrypting the wartime military cables of Nazi Germany codenamed project  Ultra. This British wartime feat involved the best cryptographers and mathematicians in the world, including Alan Turing, in an effort to decode the messages of Germany's "Enigma" encryption machine in real time. In effect, the project was an effort to reverse engineer the machine. It is well-known that Sir Winston Churchill, wartime prime minister of the United Kingdom, knew in advance of the Luftwaffe's plans to bomb Coventry. He faced the difficult decision of whether to evacuate the city, and thereby tipping off the Germans that their codes and machine had been broken, or to let the bombing along with its great loss of life to occur, and maintain the secret. He chose the latter. While debates continue to this day about the decision he took, the secret was protected, and enabled the Allies to predict other key German moves and respond to them.  The impression is thereby created that the Germans were intelligence and counter-intelligence dunderheads, and that an Allied victory was inevitable due to this intelligence coup.

On a side note, one of the enduring mysteries of this narrative has been why the Germans did not suspect that their vaunted Enigma machine had been cracked. In point of fact, British author Kenneth Macksey wrote a fascinating book on precisely this subject (Without Enigma: The Ultra and Fellgiebel Riddles), in which he convincingly argues that German General Erich Fellgiebel, in charge of all electronic communications for the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW, effectively, Hitler's high command headquarters) suspected as much. Interestingly enough, Fellgiebel was involved in the Operation Valkyrie assassination-bomb plot against Hitler of July 20, 1944, and was arrested and executed for his part in the plot.

What usually gets overlooked in these histories is another alleged fact, namely, that the Germans had successfully staged their own little intelligence coup by tapping the underwater cables between Washington and London, and had also managed to "de-scramble" British and American phone scramblers, and were listening in to the private phone conversations of Churchill and Roosevelt themselves, and the transcripts were passed along to Hitler himself. Many if not  most dispute this claim  for a variety of reasons. The difficulty is that those conversations were more likely to have been via radio-phone than underwater cable. But the point is, they could have been intercepted by the Germans (and probably were), and some of them were perhaps decrypted.

But it's that security of underwater cables itself that is the focus here in this story uncovered by "M.", an appropriate initial since we're talking about cyber security:

New Royal Navy ship to protect 'critical' undersea cables

Note the following:

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned "the lights could go out" if national infrastructure was lost, and the cables were "incredibly important".

He also told the BBC's Andrew Marr that Russia had "taken a deep interest" in the cables and the UK would be "deeply exposed" without further measures.

...

Hundreds of thousands of miles of undersea cables circle the globe, providing internet and communications links between nations and continents.

The Ministry of Defence said they are "vital to the global economy and communications between governments" and are at "risk of sabotage" due to "submarine warfare".

The new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship will be fitted "with advanced sensors and will carry a number of remotely operated and autonomous undersea drones which will collect data".

The vessel, staffed by 15 people and due to come into service in 2024, will carry out operations in both UK and international waters.

When I read this, I could not help but think of that unverified story about the Germans tapping the underwater cables and listening in on Churchill's and Roosevelt's conversations, but more importantly, I couldn't help but think of those coordinated attacks on internet cables in California and Arizona a few years ago. As the article points out, these underwater cables are "vital to the global economy and communications between governments." In other words, they're vital to international financial clearing, among other things.

But there's a new player - or rather, a new technology - on the scene that was not, presumably, available in World War Two, and again, the article mentions it: drones. As the article indicates, the British Royal Navy is planning to deploy a ship whose mission is to monitor those cables and presumably to spot any attempt to tap into them, and to do so using a variety of underwater drones, which raises the spectre - pun intended - of drones being used to tap into those cables. One may extend this principle to include the use of drones to tap into, or to counter drones tapping into, land-based cables. It takes little imagination to see how drones could be used to access relatively secure sites or cables and to plant viruses or other code into information systems, allowing eavesdropping and information modification to take place.

If that's not enough high octane speculation, there's one more implication of the article, namely, that the U.K.'s response is a response to something already occurring, namely, cyber-warfare that is organized and international in extent. It brings to mind those stories in recent months and years about the US army training for underground warfare... using drones...

See you on the flip side...

35 thoughts on “PROTECTING THOSE UNDERWATER CABLES”

  1. OK, I don’t understand the ins and outs of the technology involved but… presumably, drones are remote controlled by some sort of wireless technology (which may itself be vulnerable to jamming or hacking, no?). Also, I imagine some drones are monitored or controlled by computers connected to the (hackable) internet. So they’re going to use hackable tech to keep cables from getting hacked? Are they just using the best available option, or is there something here that doesn’t add up?

  2. I would stress again that Russia’s Northern Fleet has upgraded its Ilyushin-38 aircraft.
    It is reported that the Ilyushin Il-38N aircraft carries out antisubmarine duties and also operates as a sophisticated electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the world’s oceans.
    The Il-38N aircraft is fitted with the new Novella system that can identify targets up to 320kms away. The Novella is a computerized system with two operators. It includes high-definition TV cameras, magnetic and gravitational anomaly detectors, an array of laser, heat-seeking and other optical devices; and can be used for surface, sub-surface, underwater and aerial information gathering.
    I do wonder what other types of advanced craft / technology, besides submarines it is seeking in our oceans. The Abyss first comes to mind.
    I think the UK’s underwater cables cyber story is a diversion and false flag for what is really secretly going on in the depths of our oceans Wake up and smell the vodka!

  3. You bring up a great question Dr. Farrell was the NAZI Regime strategy to win WW II or was it to lose and infiltrate the USA and to a lesser extent the then Soviet Union. And what was the UK’s part in this operation recolonize the USA which begun at least around WW 1 if not before that?

    1. Good questions, Marcos. I think the Nazis’ original strategy was to win the war. But at some point, they realized they were going to lose WWII, so they planned how to “win the peace” by infiltrating the USA, USSR, the future EU, and lots of other places, organizations, and corporations. I’m guessing they were fairly successful.

  4. Without blowing my own trumpet, I happen to be the best cryptographer there is, when it comes to running staffers, in Saxon woodcut.

    Deciphering commonality, in fall-death-rise symbols, does solve cryptic paradoxes, in apostolic gospels.

    Subsequently, ancient agricultural prophecies become a walk in the garden, in overseas manipulation.

    It is all about having green fingers, when smoking cigars and drinking whiskey:
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/skm7jvfbkunedoz/cigar1.mp3
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/wa6jl7x9cw4bf76/whiskey1.mp3

      1. ClA seeks to avoid the breaking of the sixth seal, that the fall-death-rise symbols relate to, the so-called ego death.

        The Bible Belt faith problem is solved, by suggesting a ritualized journey, instead of a blind belief in a literal crucifixion.

        An optional interpretation, based on empirical, first hand observation, is – of course – to break the sixth seal, in Plato’s Cave.

        The Saxon woodcut documents the process, that confronts the Balrog, in the American mind.

  5. https://physicsworld.com/a/soft-robot-dives-10-km-under-the-ocean/

    “In their study, Li’s team considered the hadal snailfish, which was recently discovered at depths exceeding 8000 m in the Pacific Ocean. These strange creatures have several features that give them high adaptability and mobility, even at extreme pressures: including a distributed, highly deformable skull, and flapping pectoral fins.

    Decentralized electronics
    Imitating these features, the researchers designed a pressure-resilient electronics system, which could be fully encased in a soft silicone body. Like the skull of a snailfish, the team decentralized the components of this system – either by increasing the distances between components, or by separating them into several smaller circuit boards. This allowed them to reduce maximum shear stresses at component interfaces by 17%, making them far more resilient to extreme pressures.

    To imitate the bird-like flapping fins of the snailfish, Li and colleagues designed artificial muscles using dielectric elastomers: rubber-like materials that convert electrical energy into mechanical work. By sandwiching a compliant electrode between two dielectric elastomer membranes, the researchers could generate flapping in two silicone films, which they supported using elastic frames.”

  6. No difficulty for Churchill; he’s a killer in more ways than most are aware of. Some, may very well like him; for example, for the assassination of FDR
    [alleged by Webster Tarpley].
    But, he doesn’t hold a candle, to the likes of Truman; whose regime chose Hiroshima for its high percentage of Christian lights to be extinguished.
    [Yes, I don’t sing along w/the bouncing ball narratives, of “our” “leaders”.]

    I loved you analysis, in carrying forward the implicit meaning; that an Allied victory was inevitable due to the dunderheads intelligence corps of the Germans. it is the sine qua non signature of Westernized press, to leave those implicit understandings; unsaid, and understated.
    Also, the unsaid and understated, goes to what the German’s intelligence corps accomplished; that made the Allied powers appear even more stupid, than what they claimed the Germans were.

    Here “we” go!
    The stories are being prepped for lights out!, and it’s not the Russians to be feared; but our own damn leadership[which is really Red as hell; and even more international than can be imagined].

    I’d like to think Mr. Global’s plans have been intercepted under this aegis of under water drones. But, I can’t help but remember 9/11’s intelligence network, also being penetrated; and commandeered. And, it just may have been those “stupid” Germans.

    Loved your last paragraph; peeling off another layer of the…
    underwater onion drone op; namely, that of the U.K. playing defense, as the agenda is apparently being set by another “faction”. Which means, the U.K. is busy playing defense; while another/others is/are on the cyber warfare offensive.

    Still, there’s too many loose screws playing in this “intelligence” game; to have any confidence, that the people’s welfare…
    is of Any concern, in this many-sided ongoing “intelligence”-game?

    In fact, the people look to Be the target.
    “They’re” just fighting over who gets to screw them all to hell…
    and back, again.

    1. A take I had from reading the article was that WWII may have really been between Nazi International vs. Nazi Germany. And many Germans were double agents and really supported Nazi International goals and leadership over Nazi Germany’s. And these scientists, industrialists and intelligence double agents were quickly integrated into western positions of power and influence after the war with no internal conflict at all for working with and trusting each other because both sides were already allied unbeknownst to us little people.

    2. Wrong city Robert it was Nagasaki where the Christain Papist were vaporized also that was where the plutonium bomb was used. Hiroshima was nuked with a uranium bomb. It is the Nagasaki bomb that is nukes of today are base on.

      1. I stand corrected.
        Memory nearly always suspect.
        Truman’s regime, I believe targeted that city because of religion.
        Thanks for cluing me in on that, as well as the other aspects.

        1. There is a little interesting twist in the story of Nagasaki bombing. There were two Jesuit
          priests that survived epicenter of that horror. They often gave talks on what they thought saved them.

  7. UK initiatives for self-defence or for offence (perish the thought!)? Things have changed compared to just a few years ago, with events in the Black Sea suggesting that today’s ultra-sophisticated and ultra-expensive fleets – including subs – would in a pinch be worth no more than scrap metal.

  8. Anyone in any country with an internet connection is tapped into those cables if you think about it. If governments have separate fiber optic cables for their own secret communications then tapping into them would be tricky but doable. There would be a delay as the cable was spliced to the monitoring device with a temporary loss of signal that would alert it was possibly being tapped into. With a clever enough designed underwater robot with cleverly designed quick insert and splicing sockets the delay may only be a couple seconds. As far as protecting them from war time, attack that is impossible unless you can hide their existence. They may already be mined by all concerned parties and destroyable at the push of a button in any real conflict. I suspect it may not be communication cables they are worried about but power cables disguised as communication cables. Powering what though and where?

  9. It couldn’t hurt if the world got a little bigger today, but unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be any way for that to occur without almost total obliteration. The most threatening part of our military, VERY unfortunately, is increasingly out of our reach. We’re no longer dealing with schoolyard bullies, but we’re in a sophisticated and high-level gang war. I fear there is ‘no shelter’ from this storm.

    Persecution, wars, terror, famines, earthquakes, pestilences? These are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Jesus said, “But when these things begin to take place, then look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” I know my redemption is in my own hands and the shelter I will find will be within my own heart and mind. If I am here to see the end of humanity, I hope I go with clarity, a light heart and an exquisite bottle of wine shared with a close friend.

    We have psychopaths in control of all the mighty war toys and they can’t spend enough, plot enough or acquire enough to obtain the power they so desperately desire … as an attempt to fill a void they don’t understand. We are beyond the tactics of the chessboard of this world, although this will surely continue. But, then isn’t that the purpose of all this? To force us into the unknown realm where true redemption can be found?

  10. With regard to Churchill and Roosevelt’s transatlantic conversations, I do not believe they spoke by scrambled telephone or by radio. Scrambler telephones were not effective against foreign espionage. They were only intended to protect against unauthorised access as a result of crossed lines or other unintended overhearing and were never used for highly-classified matters, such as conversations between heads of government. Also, I may be wrong, but I do not think that the technology existed in WWII to scramble voice radio traffic. Instead, I think it is highly probable that the Churchill-Roosevelt “conversations” would have employed encrypted teleprinters linked by cable, like the Moscow-Washington hotline during the Cold War. Most people assume this was a telephone; but it was not.
    It is quite possible that the NAZIs did tap successfully the underwater cables and did crack the Allied diplomatic and/or military cyphers. I do not know but I’m sure they tried. Intercepting these conversations would have required access to the cables, which is difficult for an enemy to achieve, and difficult for a defender to detect and prevent. In the present digital age, I would imagine that physical access to cable and satellite links is less important and that installing the right spyware in the right place is the challenge du jour. I can’t imagine that one ship, a crew of fifteen and “a number of” drones are going to make much difference (Mind you, one could say the same of the entire Royal Navy. A couple of well-placed missiles and its entire carrier fleet and all the UK’s F-35Bs would be crossed off the order of battle). I think it is far more likely that most of the burden for communications security these days would fall on Space Force, not the navy. In fact, I think the entire UK defence review is mainly about re-allocating resources to space. There is the usual knee-jerk outcry from retired colonels about reducing the size of the army; but warfare is not so much about boots on the ground any more. These days, it’s more about data and, therefore, space.
    The UK’s “response” will, if nothing else, be a response to a MoD threat assessment; but we can be fairly sure that NATO, Russia, China, etc will be continually testing and assessing each other’s defences and capabilities, including the use of actual operations where plausible deniability is available, if caught or detected!

  11. There are major changes happening to the British military outlined in the ‘Defence review or ‘Integrated Review 2021’. ‘Warhorses of the military put out to pasture as new era of fighting technology arrives as reported in Telegraph on 22/3/21. ‘Tanks, ships and aircraft that have formed bulwark of Britain‘s defences for decades are phased out in favour of cyber and space technology’ reads the headline.

    ‘ The “Army of the future” will see £23 billion of investment. This will include upgrades to tanks and armoured vehicles, rockets, air defence, tactical surveillance drones, and new electronic warfare and cyberspace capabilities. However, with that will come cuts to both personnel and equipment.’

    Rheinmetall is set to win multi-million pound contract to upgrade 150 of the UK’s ageing Challenger II tanks at a quoted cost of £750 million.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/03/22/warhorses-military-put-pasture-new-era-fighting-technology-arrives/. (Paywall)

    Known as the ‘Integrated Review’. It can be accessed in full here…

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/the-integrated-review-2021

    Includes cyber, space capabilities, robotics and ‘electro-magnetism’. Traditional fighting forces are being retired (or upgraded) as are generals from what I can gather. The plans include a Space Force with the aim of achieving a goal of ‘becoming a meaningful player in space by 2030’.

  12. I find it remarkable how history continues to rhyme.

    In continuation of WWII antagonists attempts to capture each others’s cable transmissions the US and Soviet Union continued the game of cat and mouse during the cold war. One interesting aspect of this game is the United State’s use of “Attack” class submarines to this purpose. Little understood is the fact that one of the main purposes of this class of vessel was espionage. An example of this is that the subs would target soviet communications cables in international and soviet domestic waters and release divers to attach sophisticated tapping devices to them. Then 30 days later those devices were retrieved and sent to NSA for required decryption and preliminary analysis. These operations were not always a walk in the park, as our boats often retuned to port with depth-charge damage.

    Anyone else in community with related war stories to tell?

    1. Whether protecting underwater communications cables or snooping on the communications run through the cables, each serves the purpose of the other. One thing is for sure, the P-8 Poseidon fleet has been busy with their version of the Boeing 737.

  13. Russia’s Northern Fleet has upgraded its Ilyushin-38 aircraft.
    It is reported that the Ilyushin Il-38N aircraft carries out antisubmarine duties and also operates as an electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the oceans.
    The Il-38N aircraft is fitted with the new Novella system that can identify targets up to 320kms away. The Novella is a computerized system with two operators. It includes high-definition TV cameras, magnetic and gravitational anomaly detectors, an array of laser, heat-seeking and other optical devices; and can be used for surface, sub-surface, underwater and aerial information gathering.
    I do wonder what other types of advanced craft / technology, besides submarines it is seeking in our oceans. The Abyss first comes to mind.

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