What Happens If The Internet Goes Out? NATO Is Working On A Plan

The internet has become ingrained in our daily lives that many of us don’t know what we’d do if it just disappeared. But that’s a realistic problem that many countries are working on should it ever happen. Specifically, what if the subsea cables that carry data ever came under attack and were taken offline?

Researchers from the United States, Sweden, Switzerland, and Iceland are working alongside NATO to develop a plan that would reroute traffic to satellites in space. According to Bloomberg, NATO’s Science for Peach and Security Program has approved a grant up to $433,600 to help with the $2.5 million project.

The report also states that the data carried by the undersea cables “account for roughly $10 trillion worth of financial transactions every day, and nearly all of the NATO’s internet traffic travels through them.”

With multiple risks — from anchors to attacks from adversaries — the belief is that finding a solution to avoid catastrophe sooner rather than later is paramount to keeping things stable.

“With enough time and banging our heads against the wall we are confident we can do it,” Gregory Falco, a space systems engineer at Cornell University, told Bloomberg.

Law professor Bjarni Már Magnússon added that it would take “three or four bombs to just cut off Iceland and its communications”.

In addition to rerouting communications, this project is also researching how to detect threats to the cables before anything happens to them. The goal is to detect potential problems to the cables “down to the nearest meter”.


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