undersea fiber optic cable security

Undersea Fiber-Optic Cable Security - Threats from Below

Release Date: March 27, 2019
Author(s): Topic:
Publication Type: Fact Sheet


Maritime cyber security threats are on the rise. Most of the attention on maritime security vulnerability is devoted to the maritime transportation system, which includes maritime vessels and ports.  An often-neglected aspect of the maritime domain concerns the vulnerability of arguably the most important maritime critical infrastructure, undersea fiber-optic communication cables.

Key Findings

Cheaper than using satellites, undersea fiber optic cables (also known as submarine cables) are responsible for 97 percent of global data flows. Concerningly, the integrity of this vital global communication super-highway is significantly at risk from accidental and malicious compromise. Current approaches to ensure the integrity of this infrastructure are inadequate.  This fact sheet sets out just how important this critical infrastructure is to the functioning of the global economy, the risks facing this infrastructure, as well as necessary steps to mitigate risk.

Submarine Cable Map

Map of Submarine Cables Under Ocean

Undersea Fiber-Optic Cable Networks Are The Backbone Of The Global Economy:

  • More than 200 PRIVATE OPERATORS control a network of 550,000 MILES of undersea fiber-optic cable.
  • Undersea fiber-optic cables are responsible for 97 PERCENT OF INTERCONTINENTAL COMMUNICATION.
  • Over 15 MILLION FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS WORTH $10 TRILLION are facilitated by undersea fiber-optic cables daily.



Undersea fiber-optic cables have a high level of resilience to design, implementation, or configuration flaws. The most significant risks arise due to natural disasters, accidental damage, or malicious interference.

Under Water Fiber Optic Cable Damage
Malicious Under Water Fiber Optic Cable Damage


Interested in Learning More About Underwater Fiber Optic Cable Vulnerability?

If you are interested in maritime cybersecurity related research or consulting please contact us on stableseas@oneearthfuture.org