Attacks on the submarine cables running along the ocean floors carrying massive amounts of Internet traffic aren't terribly uncommon. A series of the cables were severed for reasons unbeknownst back in 2008, for example, and again early last year, the latter of which cut off Internet service to various locations in Africa. Now three have been arrested for attempting to severe a cable feeding Internet to Alexandria.
According to Egyptian military spokesman Col Ahmed Mohammed Ali, three men were discovered attempting to sabotage an undersea Internet cable from a fishing boat located approximately 820 yards from Alexandria. As a result, Internet users in Egypt have suffered reduced speeds, something that is no doubt frustrating, and also highlights the vulnerability of an infrastructure the modern world is so dependent on.
Per the announcement, the men were caught while in the process of cutting the cable. Although the extent of the damage that was caused is unknown, the timing of this attack coincided with reports from Seacom, a cable operator, that multiple lines between Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia were also affected, causing widespread Internet slowing. The specific cable attacked in this event is the SEA-ME-WE 4 main lines in the Mediterranean.
The attackers' motivation for the attack is unknown, and they are slated for interrogation by law enforcement officials. Whether this attack is in any way related to the problems experienced with other submarine Internet cables in recent days is also unknown. The mens' names have not been revealed. Stay tuned, and we'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.