, Jesper

Facts and Findings

Undersea cables as critical infrastructure and geopolitical power tool

Why undersea cables must be better protected

The undersea cable infrastructure is currently still without alternative for data transmission. At the same time, threat scenarios for undersea cables are increasing and they are coming into focus as part of hybrid warfare. What are the current threats and how can we better protect the critical infrastructure underwater?

Around 95 percent of international data transfer runs through this underwater cable infrastructure before being distributed further overland at various landing points. And the trend is rising. Digital transformation, with increasing numbers of new internet users every day and new digital processes (like cloud products, streaming services, social media, etc.) is driving this trend.

At the same time, underwater critical infrastructure becoming more and more an important objective for geopolitical actors and is not immune to manipulative influence, as the incidents this summer in the Baltic Sea around the Nordstream I and II gas pipelines have shown. Data espionage is also a conceivable possibility of influence. 

The geopolitical significance of undersea cables has been recognized by the global powers. Whoever controls the cable infrastructure may be able to capture, influence or even stop the transfer of data and information.

Europe, the EU and Germany must pay more attention to the protection of critical infrastructure; they have long underestimated its protection and importance; they have long underestimated the protection and importance of cable infrastructure. How the powers are acting and what steps need to be taken to protect the infrastructure from digital and physical influences – find out more about in the following analysis.

Read the entire Facts & Findings "Undersea cables as critical infrastructure and geopolitical power tool" here as a PDF.