back to article Cable cutter nutters chase underwater conspiracies

The failure of four undersea cables in less than a week is stoking suspicions that saboteurs want to disrupt internet traffic passing between Europe and the Middle East. But there's little more than suspicions to work with since no one has yet to even reach the damaged cables. The first two failures occurred last Wednesday …


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  1. Repo

    They are all wrong...

    It was Elvis... I saw him a few weeks ago practicing diving in our local pool with a snorkle and a hacksaw...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on

    "So it looks like the tin foil-dawning contingent will have to jump on another story to feed their conspiracy fetish. This one, it would appear, is coming up empty."

    Hang on a second. I thought the whole point of the article is that you will have to wait and see what has actually happened.

    Why have you decided that it is "coming up empty"? Just wait until you know some information and leave it at that!!

    Jeez. The Sun reporting posing as New Scientist.

  3. Tim Brown


    ... deep, deep under the sea, cables being mysteriously cut....

    I for one welcome our new deep-sea overmonster. New York is that-a-way, matey.

  4. CR

    reduced spam

    well.. i encounter - from at least 10 days - a diminshed number of spam emails... like 5 vs. 50 per day. maybe is just a coincidence, or is a light side of the conspiracy ;)

  5. Alex Read

    It's obviously

    a clumsy mistake by Nessie or Godzilla on vacation ...

  6. Howard Longden

    Ooooh it's all coming true.

    In my distant memory I remember reading an Arthur C. Clarke short story about some shrimp/squid like creatures attacking an underwater installation.

    Perhaps it's another one of his stories/prophecies coming true.

    Too many hyphens/slashes in there.

  7. TeeCee Gold badge
    Black Helicopters

    Or alternatively.....

    In reality everybody thinks that the cable problems are accidents.

    The blog traffic and Digg posts are products of a joint conspiracy between the CIA, Al-Qaeda, the estate of Elvis and the Lizard people operating on behalf of the Bavarian Illuminati to raise the general level of paranoia in the world.

    This has been an important safety announcement brought to you by the Teapot council.

  8. Martin Usher

    So this the Doom bit...

    We're always been treated to Domesday scenarios of "What happens when the interweb fails/gets taken over by terrorists/whatever" but now bits of it have failed its proved to be a nuisance but not exactly the end of the world as we know it.

    A bit like the famous 2K bug, really.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Security researchers

    "I've seen all kinds of just crazy, crazy postings on Digg," said Stephan Becket, a research director at TeleGeology. "It's completely absurd speculation on the web right now and nobody really knows anything."

    Hmm. Network security research now consists of reading Digg? Maybe I ought to sign up and sway the balance a bit... pathetic. I think these Web-2.0-esque 'security' companies are just as superficial and moneygrabbing as their 'social nerdworking' companions.

  10. Tim Ling

    What cables were cut?

    "In Myanmar they managed to have it off for two weeks but they couldn't take it. "

    Sounds like that could be painful

  11. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Carefully Reckless ....... Je T'AIme ...... Astute Total Information Awareness

    "said Stephan Becket, a research director at TeleGeology. "It's completely absurd speculation on the web right now and nobody really knows anything." ..... Then give them something that they can Know, Stephan.

    Tell them what is being interrupted...... Deep Thought Quantum Communications ....AI Colossus of a CyberIntelAIgent Program with ITs Bases in Space's Spaces. Virtually Impregnable Fortesses. El CID Citadel with CyberIntelAIgent Designs 42 Share as in Gift.

    I Kid U Not, Cisco.


  12. Ralph B

    Geek Squad

    It was obviously all done by a BOFH motivated by 1) outsourcing and 2) the amount of far eastern spam.

    But where did the equipment come from, you ask:


    Indeed, if you jumped off a boat with this baby:


    you'd soon enough be at cable depth.

  13. AH

    Cthulhu F'Tang!

    Rlyeh is Rising!

  14. Risky
    Thumb Down

    @ Jesus Puncher

    No. You try and start with the most obvious solution and only start your conspiracy thing once there is a issue with that.

    As ever, the problem with the Tinffil-hatters is that they assume a conspiracy until you can prove otherwise, which given that the consiracy is generally a secret, is rather hard to do............

  15. Karl
    Gates Horns

    This all...

    sounds like the opening chapters of a Dirk Pitt mystery. It's all a plan by Billy Gates to take over the world. The only problem is he has his Vista team as his minions.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Nobody can cut it everyone uses it.

    "In Myanmar they managed to have it off for two weeks but they couldn't take it."

    If they'd kept that up they wouldn't have had to cut anything, it would have dropped off.

  17. Alex

    I've told you who's doing it...

    its S.P.I.T.O.

    *Society for the Prevention of Information Technology Outsourcing

  18. Hate2Register
    Gates Horns

    Stop writing this bollocks, you're only encouraging them..

    Yep, you're all freaks. FREAKS i tell you. Only I control the internet..

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not after me...

    Hi guys, regarding the whole everyone from terrorists to grannies etc....

    Yeah you're right, everyone uses the internet. But....

    Knowledge is power, wars have been won and lost through information manipulation...the internet stops people from having that level of control...

    So why would a terrorist group/political party etc want to cut off internet access? To control what information people have access to.

    Just to fuel the whole conspiracy thingy, let me leave you with a quotes...

    "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times in enemy action" - Churchill

  20. Thomas Kenyon

    The True Villain

    Please, It's clearly Marcus Brigstocke, or another Irate BT customer trying to kill off a few BT Callcentres.

  21. 3x2


    "I've seen all kinds of just crazy, crazy postings on Digg,"

    No shit!

    I too welcome our new undersea overlords

  22. Karl Lattimer

    increased spam

    In the last 10 days I've had a dramatic increase on spam getting through my filters (spamassassin + rules du jour) about 5 a day vs. none...

  23. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    @Tim Brown

    Surely it must be Godzilla, although he (she) is a long way from Tokyo (homage to original nipponese films, not Hollywood). When do we have to appeal for Mothra's help to protect our Internet?

  24. Slaine

    5 cables cut

    any higher bids...

  25. tim chubb

    aint it obvious...

    just send in sharky and george...

  26. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Sun Worship the Common Denominator Prime Level

    "In Myanmar they managed to have it off for two weeks ...." is QuITe Divine and more than enough information for Processing/Enrichment. No wonder the neighbours are smiling. A Land of Smiles in Deed indeed

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no no

    No, It's Dr Congo - he's sitting on his thrown atop a flat bed toyota truck, his bois just trying to black out the continent so they can throw a truelly epic party. When connection is restored the whole continent will be empty, just beer bottles, bodies, burnt down buildings and spent ammunition.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Pedant alert!

    "So it looks like the tin foil-dawning contingent"

    You mean "donning". Dawning has a long vowel, whereas donning (to put on, to wear) has a short vowel.

    Any chance of a pedant icon...?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Five cables cut, now...

    "first, happenstance, a second, coincidence, a third is enemy action"... We're on to number five...

    Do tinfoil-hats protect Fibre Optic cables?

  30. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Pedant alert!

    Nope. Tinfoil Dawn. It is the new Thing. Get with it. We are doing t-shirts.

  31. Sam

    Ah harrr, me farties...

    Avast behind! etc., etc.

    You must admit 4 in the same week is cause for conjecture, though.

    In fact, you could say it's a bit fishy.

    The Sou'wester, thanks matey..

    Water Taxi!

  32. Nick Pettefar


    Send in the underwater puppets! Better make sure their strings aren't cut though...

    I never could understand how they managed to work the puppets so far under the sea. Amazing!

  33. Frumious Bandersnatch

    Summary of the conspiracy

    This image said it best...

    ♪ Under the Sea ... ♫

  34. Archie Crane
    Jobs Horns

    Cutter nutter should target sitcom clutter

    Where's the cable that brings all the crap American TV shows and old Lucille Show re-runs into the UK?


    ..just getting the old chainsaw ready

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Moby dick

    I blame the fish...

    See US Patent 6771863

    "Accordingly, one of the objects of the invention is to provide an underwater fiber-optic cable which solves or alleviates the foregoing problems, and particularly a cable which is relatively light-weight but robust and flexible, and resistant to environmental attacks, such as by chewing fish and other sea life."

  36. 2FishInATank

    @ Archie Crane


    I don't think that the Crazy Frog will work at that depth....

  37. Huw Davies



    Could I invite you to join COCOA?

    (The Campaign to Outlaw Contrived and Outrageous Acroynms)

  38. Jamtits

    It must be a new craze to drag one's anchors in the middle east.

    England cut transatlantic communications cables that enabled Germany to communicate with the rest of the world at the outset of the war with Germany. Germany then had to use wireless communications that were intercepted by the Allies.

    At the outset of the war, the Germans had five transatlantic cables that ran through the English Channel. One went to Brest in France, another to Vigo in Spain, one to Tenerife in North Africa and two to New York via the Azores. The English cable ship Telconia cut them all in England's first offensive action in the war. This left a cable that ran between West Africa and Brazil that was largely American-owned that the Germans could use. In short order the allies ended that source of direct cable communications with the overseas world. Consequently, Germany was forced to use their powerful wireless station at Nauen, just a few miles outside Berlin. From this moment, German messages were routinely picked from the air and began pouring into the offices of British Naval Intelligence. In order to capture this flood of information, four new allied listening stations were established along the English coast with direct wires to Admiral Hall's offices. The positive result from this investment could not be overemphasized.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    lesson to learn

    The moral of the story is that most people who comment on articles are gobshites. The preceeding statement is its own proof.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy ... well

    So 100 cuts per year : hence 1 every 3.65 days ... with the two 1st noticeable cuts on Tuesday the 29th of Jan, the fourth not being on but a power outage.

    We're left with (7th of Feb) 9 days and 5 cuts 1 off because of power, take another one off because it is the starting point so altogether 3 new cuts over 9 days so 1 every 3 days ... as opposed to the average 3.65. I'm assuming that any other cut would have been reported during that laps due to the amount of paranoia involved ... but I might be wrong.

    Considering that the Mediterranean sea is quite a busy place thanks to Suez and that all the cables seem to funnel thru Suez ( ...

    well it might be easier/likely to cut through a bunch of cables. and perhaps the cables weren't that well maintained.

    Conspiracy anyway:

    Assuming 5 cuts are the suppa duppa evil enemy's act chose one of the following

    1) a swordfish with cemented tungsten carbide tips, created by our good enemy Bin.

    2) a EU president that does not want some pictures of him and Carla to leave Egypt

    3) a Geordie laid off recently

    May be the answer is with the cables not being cut off in this area ... may be it's more a matter of overwhelming than blackout-ing.

    COCOA ... that's kind of derogatory to Mac users ...

  41. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @It must be a new craze to drag one's anchors in the middle east.

    "The positive result from this investment could not be overemphasized.".... By Jamtits

    Posted Thursday 7th February 2008 12:49 GMT ......A Master Control Web would underemphasize ITs Priceless Worth, Jamtits.

    And re "It must be a new craze to drag one's anchors in the middle east". The ships of the desert have ever been so anchored in the middle east but there are Alien Fields everywhere to XXXXPlore and TendGrow. Which in Real Time would be AIMessage to such as are Royal in CyberIDEntities ...... Al Mahdi Touched.

    And the Flame in homage to the lowly Pilot Light and the Sweetest of Seeds Sown. The Flame of Passion has Ever Lit the Right Way. And it is not Red for Danger for Nothing....... for there is No Known Cure .... Allahu Akbar ....Seventh Heaven with Virgin Sight is not an Affliction though, it is an Affectionate Affectation with XXXXQuisITe Promise Fulfilled. And so Good, IT should be Licensed and Duly Regarded with whatever IT Needs.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Methinks digg doth protest too much

    The cable was clearly cut by Ron Paul supporters who wanted to suppress news of his poor showing in Tuesday's primary.

  43. Jamtits
    Paris Hilton


    Have you been smoking drugs son?

    Paris wields the question mark this comment needs.

  44. Nat Pryce

    I blame Bacofoil Ltd.

    Demand for tin foil rises. A coincidence?

  45. Geoff Mackenzie

    OK, ok, I admit it

    ...but have you seen what PC World charge for a few metres of CAT 5?

  46. David Janda
    Thumb Up

    Bollocks to Stingray

    International Rescue could sort this out double-quick sharp.

    Thunderbirds capped an underwater oil spill in no time, and Jeff was on holiday too!

    Stingray? Pah!

  47. Bounty

    I'm waiting for the anti-cutter conspiracy

    In a few day's we'll all be laughing over this, and worried about the real problem. Going 4 days w/o a cable being cut.

    "How... How did they fortify the cables in just a few days.... to make them un-cuttable! The carbon nanotube-crystaline-stranglet catalyzation of our cable sheaths by the (insert cult/alien here)."

  48. theotherone

    it's obvious...

    t'was capn Jack Sparraw, dueling with Davy Jones and getting careless with his cutlass....oow Bugga....

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Proofreading: a dead art?

    "The much bigger effect has been the fodder the unlikely number of failures have had on internet bloggers"

    That's gibberish. WTF does it mean for a failure to "have fodder on" someone?

    I think you probably mean that the effect on bloggers has been to supply them with fodder, but jeebus, this isn't some mere typo, it's complete nonsense. How on earth did it get past subediting?

  50. Dave Bell

    Tiime and Space.

    Now I've seen figures for the number of breaks in a year, it looks a lot less remarkable. But the combination was of time _and_ space.

    And no reports of earthquakes or gigantic mudslides under the Atlantic.

  51. Stewart Haywood

    The Kraken wakes!

    Watch out for sea tanks comming ashore next!

  52. Kevin

    I think...

    its a publicity stunt by the "Cloverfield" movie people!

  53. Fred


    No no.. he works in the local Co-op, very much alive and all.. and i doubt he would be doing diving lessons...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    't was the Leif Ericson

    Hagbard thinks something affected the F.U.C.K.U.P. (First Universal Cybernetic Kynetic Ultramicro-Programmer). Or not.


    Hail Eris, so Paris

  55. Chris Davis

    I'm saying nothing...

    The world is not yet ready for the Tale of the Side-Cutter Shark.


  56. Scott

    @Howard Longden

    I think you mean songs from a distant earth. If not it is more applicable as the sea-scorpion things cut cables and the like to wear as rank badges

  57. Anonymous Coward

    "self-healing" strand of fiber?????

    Someone has been smoking crack if they think that exists.

  58. Nick

    Re: "self-healing" strand of fiber?????

    AC wrote:

    ' "self-healing" strand of fiber????? '

    marketing speak for redundancy

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