RE: #22 | Posted by goatman at 2014-02-25 05:14 PM
No doubt it is difficult and likely requires more than a clever technician with pair of Leatherman -----!
"So how does one tap into an underwater cable?
The process is extremely secretive, but it seems similar to tapping an old-fashioned, pre-digital telephone line -- the eavesdropper gathers up all the data that flows past, then deciphers it later.
More than 550,000 miles of flexible undersea cables about the size of garden watering hoses carry all the world's emails, searches, and tweets. Together, they shoot the equivalent of several hundred Libraries of Congress worth of information back and forth every day.
In 2005, the Associated Press reported that a submarine called the USS Jimmy Carter had been repurposed to carry crews of technicians to the bottom of the sea so they could tap fiber optic lines. The easiest place to get into the cables is at the regeneration points -- spots where their signals are amplified and pushed forward on their long, circuitous journeys. "At these spots, the fiber optics can be more easily tapped, because they are no longer bundled together, rather laid out individually," Deutsche Welle reported."
"The British publication PC Pro presented another theory: that slightly bending the cables could allow a receiver to capture their contents.
One method is to bend the cable and extract enough light to sniff out the data. "You can get these little cylindrical devices off eBay for about $1,000. You run the cable around the cylinder, causing a slight bend in cable. It will emit a certain amount of light, one or two decibels. That goes into the receiver and all that data is stolen in one or two decibels of light. Without interrupting transfer flow, you can read everything going on on an optical network," said Everett.
The loss is so small, said Everett, that anyone who notices it might attribute it to a loose connection somewhere along the line. "They wouldn't even register someone's tapping into their network," he added."