Last year, as Congress debated cybersecurity, some worried about an “internet kill switch” — that is, the authority for the President to order access to the internet cut off. As the debate resumes this year, it is worth remembering the real nature of an internet kill switch. As this report of sabotage in Egypt makes clear the greatest vulnerabilities of the network probably lie in the hardware that supports it, not in the code itself. From the news report:
Egypt said it has arrested three men suspected of slicing a crucial undersea Internet cable on Wednesday, causing widespread problems from Kenya to Pakistan.
[The men cut] [t]he South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) cable [which] runs 12,500 miles from France to Singapore, with branches connecting telecommunication companies in Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia and Algeria