It’s not just the corporate sharks that come looking for a bite of the behemoth

Who would have thought that a global force such as Google would fall to the mercy of sharks? How are these sharks even attacking the tech giant? Some might say, right at the source. After all, Google is a tech company that, like everyone else, relies on the internet. Without the ability to share data at blistering speeds, they would easily fall from their perch atop, well, the world.  Still confused? Let us get to the point.

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Sharks attack undersea cables, as seen in the video above. These attacks would include Google’s own network of undersea cables. These cables are the literal backbone of the internet, carrying 100s of gigabits of data a second across massive stretches of the ocean floor.

On a side note, no, the internet is not a magical force emanating through the air, bringing the world’s knowledge to your fingertips. While you may be connected to the internet through your Wi-Fi capable device, the internet as a whole is in fact a very real, physical network of cables that traverse the oceans and send data at mind-blistering speeds across the globe.

To minimize the threat, Google has decided to wrap its undersea cables in a Kevlar-type material, as reported by Brandon Butler of NetworkWolrd. The reason these cables need such robust protection is because of their delicate nature. After all, the fiber-optic cables are essentially strings of glass encased in layers of various plastics, metals, and composite materials.

Even under layers of polyethylene, steel wire, aluminum tubing, and other protective materials, sharks are still able to cause serious breaks. These instances create massive problems for tech companies, as a damaged cable cuts off service to millions of users. The first such service disruption occurred around 1985 when a fiber-optic cable was bitten by a crocodile shark.

So the next time you’re trying to message your distant cousin on a continent far away and your met with an error message, you may just have a shark to thank for your disruption of service.

Okay, maybe that isn’t all that accurate. According to the International Cable Protection Committee, sharks and other fish attacks are actually rare on undersea cables; Googles and others. In fact, from 2008-2013, undersea critters had no reported incidences with cables. Their highest attack rate was in the period between 1901-1957, where 28 cables were damaged. These were not fiber-optic cables, however.

So while sharks might not be a prominent threat to the lifeblood of the world, it doesn’t hurt to be safe.

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