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Possible Espionage Threat? US Officials Warn Of Chinese Interference With Undersea Internet Cables In Pacific

Published 19/05/2024, 16:52
© Reuters.  Possible Espionage Threat? US Officials Warn Of Chinese Interference With Undersea Internet Cables In Pacific

Benzinga - by Bibhu Pattnaik, Benzinga Staff Writer.

U.S. authorities have privately alerted telecom companies about the potential susceptibility of undersea internet cables in the Pacific Ocean to meddling by Chinese repair ships.

What Happened: U.S. State Department officials have raised concerns regarding S.B. Submarine Systems, a state-controlled Chinese firm involved in the repair of international cables.

The company's ships allegedly hide their locations from radio and satellite tracking services, an action that officials find puzzling, reported The Wall Street Journal.

This warning highlights a previously overlooked security risk to undersea fiber-optic cables. Tech giants such as Google and Meta Platforms, who co-own many cables, depend on specialized construction and repair companies for maintenance.

Some of these firms, including those with foreign ownership, are feared to threaten the security of commercial and military data.

The Biden administration's focus on these repair ships is part of a broader effort to address China's maritime activities in the western Pacific.

U.S. officials have conveyed their concerns about potential threats to the security of U.S.-owned cables by Chinese companies to entities including Google and Meta.

Also Read: US Set To Restrict China's Access To Cloud Computing Services From Amazon, Microsoft

The National Security Council stressed the importance of trusted entities in maintaining and repairing undersea cables transparently and safely.

The administration, however, declined to comment on SBSS. Google and Meta also refused to comment on concerns related to SBSS.

Despite the gaps in the company's ship-location data, some suggest that these could be due to inconsistent satellite coverage rather than an attempt to hide their positions.

The ships, named the Fu Hai, Fu Tai and Bold Maverick, have periodically disappeared from satellite ship-tracking services while operating off Taiwan, Indonesia and other Asian coastal locations.

Why It Matters: A growing threat is already posed by China's rapidly expanding Rocket Force to American bases and warships in the Pacific.

Last year, U.S. intelligence officials issued warnings to American companies doing business in China, emphasizing the imminent implementation of an updated counterespionage law in the country.

These events underscore the increasing concern among US officials about China's activities in the Pacific and their potential impact on US security.

Now Read: Xi Jinping Calls For Chinese Army To ‘Focus On The Battlefield’ During Visit To Military Medical University

This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo: Shutterstock

© 2024 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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