Undersea, internet-carrying cables are not protected well enough and there isn\u2019t an alternative in place should they fail.\nThat's according to a new report from U.K.-based Policy Exchange, which outlines potential catastrophic effects that a simple cut in the hosepipe-sized underwater infrastructure could create.\n\nTsunamis, a vessel dragging an anchor, or even saw-wielding Russians could bring down the global financial system or cripple a solo nation\u2019s internet access, Policy Exchange says in its new study\u00a0(pdf).\nAnchor dragging apparently is not unusual and has happened a few times over the years \u2014 most recently, an incident in Somalia earlier this year caused a three-week internet outage in the country.\nOther notable cable severs have been from an earthquake in the Luzon Straight in 2006, which caused massive internet disruption and impeded communications throughout Asia.\nAlso, copper theft suspended Vietnam\u2019s national internet connection in 2007.\nPotential risk for internet cable sabotage\nStudy author Rishi Sunak doesn\u2019t list any historic examples of terrorism or foreign-power driven sabotage, but he says there are numerous examples of potential risk.\u00a0The locations of most undersea cables is available publicly, for one thing. Also, chokepoints exist where large numbers of cables funnel, meaning a bad actor could perpetrate a mass of lacerations. Additionally, cables have limited protection in international law \u2014 they\u2019re owned and operated by companies, not governments.\nSunak says an underwater vehicle, such as a submarine, would be needed for a saboteur to perform any dastardly deeds. But once a foreign power\u2019s representative got down there, the task of snipping the cable is apparently relatively simple: The fiber, which lies on the ocean bed, is typically covered just with simple galvanized steel wire armoring and then a plastic coating \u2014 which can be easily slashed.\nMaritime laws haven't kept up with technology\nOne major issue is that the internet has become more important in recent years, yet the maritime laws haven\u2019t kept up.\n\u201cCurrent international law is more suited to the peripheral role cables played in the 70s and 80s rather than to the indispensable status they hold today,\u201d Sunak says, referring to a lack of global protection treaty, among other legal problems. There\u2019s a lack of jurisdiction, too, he says. That negatively affects whether suspicious vessels can be boarded and searched by warships, as an example.\nThe problem is that cables currently are the only medium suitable for sending large amounts of data and bandwidth across oceans.\n\u201cWhen most people talk or think about the internet or the \u2018cloud,\u2019 they imagine that data is being transferred effortlessly through the skies or satellites,\u201d Sumak says. That\u2019s not the case.\nThe reality is that 97 percent of worldwide communications is transmitted by the barely protected half-million miles of fiber cables lying on ocean beds.\n\u201cSatellites account for just three percent of global data transmissions,\u201d he says.\u00a0\u201cIt is not satellites in the sky, but pipes on the ocean floor that form the backbone of the world\u2019s economy.\u201d\nThey carry $10 trillion financial transfers per day, claims Sunak.\nAnd \u201cwhen communications networks go down, the financial services sector does not grind to a halt; it snaps to a halt,\u201d Sunak quotes Federal Reserve chief of staff Steve Malphrus as saying.