Broadband users around the world often don’t think much about uninterrupted access to online resources, relying on the massive web of cables across the globe. But today, Egyptian, Indian and other users of the internet suffered major interruptions to their online activity, because an underwater Mediterranean internet cable was severed (audio link). Reasons for the interruption may go unidentified for another week.
Update: Renesys blogged about the countries initially impacted, the isp’s and carriers in the region, a set of five effected countries and their isps before and after the event, and a report on how Iran was not taken off the grid altogether. It’s a fascinating series for those interested in the physical connections of the internet and their relevance to entire regions of the globe.
So how might this event effect decisions and issues around computer security? There isn’t a whole lot that behavioral based client side software can do about a severed submarine cable.
But when this sort of contained client side solution that is not dependent on constant updates is compared against “herd mentality” and update-driven technologies, the security technology that is effective against malicious activity, independent of online database access and updates, has an advantage during regional interruptions like this one. Activity in the region continues on, including malicious activity. Phone home solutions are dead in the water, and self contained solutions continue protecting their client.