Serious incident involving CUT underwater cables in South of France affects internet worldwide

Image of an underwater cable. Credit: [email protected]_stern

Widespread internet connectivity problems last week were the result of three underwater fibre-optic cables being cut off the coast of the South of France.

 

According to a report on Thursday, October 20, by cloud security firm Zscaler, last Wednesday evening, October 19, a serious incident involving an undersea cable in the south of France caused widespread internet connectivity problems.

At least three fibre-optic cables were reportedly cut at around 8:30pm local time, slowing internet access for users in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Cloud companies quickly worked to fix the backbone.

The unexpected cable damage resulted in packet loss and increased latency for websites and applications traversing the impacted paths. Three broken links were quickly identified by Zscaler: Marseille-Lyon, Marseille-Milan and Marseille-Barcelona.
 
Zscaler made routing adjustments to internet traffic where possible to mitigate the issue. However, in some cases, actions were hampered by app and content providers who were still using the severed links.
 
In a subsequent update released at 1:03:15 local time, Zscaler confirmed that workers had fixed one of the affected links, resulting in lower packet loss and reduced latency for websites and internet apps.
 
The remaining links (probably Marseille-Milan and Marseille-Barcelona) were confirmed cut by direct fibre tests. However, search operations to find the damaged points of the submarine cable are still in progress.
 
As internet connectivity slowly returns to normal, investigations are ongoing locally and globally. French authorities have collected evidence of the incident. Meanwhile, non-cable damage in the UK has sparked wild speculation that the cut lines may involve unknown Russian saboteurs.

An undersea cable linking the Shetland Islands to Scotland suffered damage around the same time as the incident in southern France. The break left Shetland isolated from the rest of the world. The Shetland cut came as technicians were still working to restore another cable linking the Faroe Islands to Shetland which was cut one week earlier.

The risk of multiple incidents occurring in Europe’s submarine fiber optic infrastructure is slim. The hypothetical scenarios of Russian submarines damaging the global internet infrastructure seem rather extreme. However, the current geopolitical crisis created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine raises concerns about the Kremlin’s involvement, as reported by netcost-security.fr.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

Comments


    • Susan Bailey

      24 October 2022 • 21:07

      I´ve been reading about internets being cut off for months now, it´s all part of their plan whilst they get up to no good when it´s down, wake up people!!!

      Reply

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