AOH :: IS1509.HTM

Undersea Cables Cut; 14 Countries Lose Web -- Updated

Undersea Cables Cut; 14 Countries Lose Web -- Updated
Undersea Cables Cut; 14 Countries Lose Web -- Updated 

By Kim Zetter 
Threat Level
December 19, 2008

Reports from the Mediterranean indicate that two of the undersea cables 
severed and repaired earlier this year have been cut again, disrupting 
internet access and phone service between the Middle East, Europe, and 
parts of Asia. An additional third cable is down in the same region.

The cuts are causing traffic to be re-routed through the United States 
and elsewhere.

Egypt's communications ministry tells the Associated Press that the 
outage has almost completely killed internet services throughout Egypt.

A second report indicates that the three cables that are out include the 
SEA-ME-WE 4 cable (also known as SMW4), which went out at 7:28 a.m. 
local time Friday morning; SEA-ME-WE 3, which went down at 7:33 a.m.; 
and the FLAG EA cable, which went out at 8:06 a.m. The cables were cut 
in the region where they run under the sea between Egypt and Italy. They 
carry an estimated 90 percent of all data traffic between Europe and the 
Middle East. SMW 3 and SMW 4 are owned by groups of phone companies; 
FLAG is owned by Reliance Globalcom.

The SMW 4 and FLAG cables were among five undersea cables damaged 
earlier this year in January and February in the Mediterranean, 
launching a flurry of conspiracy theories before investigations revealed 
that at least one of the cuts was caused by a ship's anchor. When those 
cables went down, SMW 3 was used to re-route traffic. But this time, SMW 
3 is reportedly involved in the outage as well.


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