I recently read an article that Google wants to build a submarine cable connecting to my country supposedly to increase overall speed and while I hope my government will never allow this kind of thing it made me curious about the actual security of submarine cables against man-in-the-middle attacks.

I tried to search that online and only found the following links:

I'm familiar with the concepts of encryption and I know that whoever does that will be able to intercept all HTTP traffic but I also know HTTPS is not unbreakable; won't they be able to see all the handshakes happening between the parties to at least do network analysis like I'm connecting to my VPN and they see my IP doing a handshake with the VPN IP and know that now I'm connecting to a VPN and be able to correlate my traffic when it leaves the VPN and much more?

So how bad would it be to the Internet as a whole if there's an active man in the middle tapping submarine cables? I see that submarine cables are obviously interesting for many reasons to many countries around the world and they pass international water space with no rules.


https:// is not unbreakable

The conditions required to break HTTPS cannot be achieved by passively observing traffic over an undersea cable.

There's several effective attacks against SSL/TLS but pretty much all of them require the attacker to actively interfere with the transmission. To perform a MITM attack against actual encrypted traffic the attacker would also need access to a CA certificate (which many governments do), although there are other (more noticeable) attacks such as SSL stripping.

Even then, if certificates are pinned to particular trusted signing CA (as is the case in some mobile apps and I believe also Chrome when accessing Google services) then they won't be able to perform a MITM attack even with a compromised CA.

The NSA was successful in tapping Google's fibre network because they weren't using encryption within their own network between data centres.

TLDR; HTTPS keeps you safe from passive mass surveillance. Active attacks might still work but there will almost certainly be some evidence of this happening if you look hard enough.

the vpn ip and know that know i'm connecting to an vpn and be able to correlate my traffic when it leaves the vpn and much more?

An IP is not typically considered private information. Without knowing your IP your ISP won't be able to route traffic from the VPN to you and therefore they will unavoidably know that you're communicating with a host that might turn out to be a VPN gateway.

Having said that, who you're communicating with after the VPN and what you're actually communicating is a secret from your ISP and this is usually the information people are trying to protect when they use a VPN.

There are solutions to this (such as TOR) where your IP is known, but it is not known if that traffic actually came from you or was just forwarded by you.

TLDR; An IP is not typically secret information, but a VPN will still protect what you're communicating and with whom.

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