Slowdowns in Internet traffic in the Middle East and South Asia earlier this week were likely the work of hackers. Hackers in the traditional sense: The Egyptian Navy caught three men hacking into an undersea cable. And it's a bigger problem than it seems.
Egypt’s naval forces captured three scuba divers who were trying to cut an undersea Internet cable in the Mediterranean on Wednesday ...
[D]ivers were arrested while “cutting the undersea cable” of the country’s main communications company, Telecom Egypt. The statement said they were caught on a speeding fishing boat just off the port city of Alexandria.
The image at right is from the Facebook page, and allegedly shows the saboteurs and their equipment.
The cable that was damaged was the SMW-4, which its website (it has a website) indicates travels from Marseilles in the south of France to Singapore. TeleGeography's Submarine Cable Map shows the route the cable takes.
It's one of a number of cables that come inland at Alexandria near the historic Citadel of Qaitbay, below, as documented in Neal Stephenson's December 1996 overview of cable networks for Wired. Cut the SMW-4 there, and you have an effect on countries in three continents.