Code name "Killer Rabbit": New Sub Can Tap Undersea Cables

Martin Peck coderman at
Tue Feb 22 15:00:59 PST 2005

On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 17:01:05 -0500, Tyler Durden
<camera_lumina at> wrote:
> ... Do you take a copy of EVERYTHING and send it back? That might have been more
> feasible in the old days, but when a single fiber can run 64 wavelength
> optically amplified 10 Gig traffic, I really really doubt it. Or at least,
> this would require an undertaking large enough that I doubt they could hide
> it.

DWDM certainly makes it more complicated.  Of course, that same
technology allows them to send much more back. (Regarding the single
OC-3 mentioned previously.)

How they process and return the information is indeed the BIG SECRET. 
The old USSR taps used pods attached to the cables for recording and
were serviced periodically to pick up the collected data.

See also:
> ... I suspect it's a combination of all sorts of stuff...remember too that all
> that traffic has to land somewhere, so theoretically they can access a good
> deal of it terrestrially.

If you look at the landing sites for various oceanic fiber cables you
will see that a great many of them are on "friendly" territory.  You
can be sure that these lines are tapped.  (Which brings up the issue
someone else mentioned a while ago.  We make a big deal about ECHELON
monitoring satellites, yet no one really cares about the tapping of
landing sites that carry many times more information?  Silly humans)

I presume the fiber tapping submarine is interested mainly in those
cables which don't land on friendly territory or the sections landed
between unfriendly sites. (E.g. not all data goes through all sites)

> What you might see, therefore, is a sheath coming
> out of, say Iran, is tapped for fibers that proceed on to other unfriendly
> nations, and a copy of the traffic pulled back to some nearby land-based
> station in a friendly country (so that lots of amplifiers aren't needed).

This would be a reasonable assumption.  But so would a number of other
possible techniques.  The great mystery continues...

Best regards,

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