NO SINGLE ENTITY CAN BRING DOWN THE WWW
But it’s possible to cripple it momentarily.
In late October 2015, it was reported that there were heightened levels of activity by Russian submarines and ships along routes carrying vital undersea cables, leading to growing concerns by the United States government that Russia could be studying or even planning to attack or cut these cables during times of tension or conflict.
These fears are very real given the recent state of affairs surrounding Russia and United States relations. The two nations have had a tense history, but matters took a turn for the worse following the Ukrainian Crisis of last year. And relations became even more bitter after Russia decided to pledge support for President Bashar al-Assad of the Syrian government, against the United States’ demands that Assad leave power. As a result of these provocations, relations between the two superpowers have dipped to levels unseen since the Cold War.
According to a New York Times report, it said “The ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent.”
This is a view echoed by some of the United States’ most senior military officers. Rear Admiral Frederick J. Roegge, commander of the Navy’s submarine fleet in the Pacific, said, “I’m worried every day about what the Russians may be doing.”
But the question remains, “Can Russia really take down the United States’ access to the Internet?”
The short answer is that it is highly unlikely. For that, we have to visit the origins of the Internet. The Internet that we know today is a network of networks consisting of billions of devices and countless numbers of nodes and servers. It was birthed from ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), an early network designed to showcase packet switching and TCP/IP technologies. Although the reasons for ARPANET’s development are hazy, it’s generally agreed that the network was designed primarily for survivability in the events of attack and for military communications.
The idea behind ARPANET ensured communications wouldn’t be severed even if nodes were taken down. With that in mind, cutting a single data cable, even a major one is unlikely to have a significant impact on United States telecommunications.
In an interview with Nicole Starosielski, Assistant professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University, and author of the book The Undersea Network (Duke University Press), and she said that these undersea cables are actually frequently damaged, as often as once every three days, by natural occurrences like storms and tremors, and even mundane items such as fishing nets and ship anchors.
She went to clarify that even if numerous cables were significantly damaged, the Internet
"The idea behind ARPANET ensured communications wouldn’t be severed even if nodes were taken down. With that in mind, cutting a single data cable, even a major one is unlikely to have