The vast majority of global internet and telephone traffic relied on by Western governments, economies and civilians is carried by cables that crisscross the world’s seabeds, according to analysts.

NATO has prioritized missions to protect these undersea lines of communication and is working “to match and understand Russian fleet modernization,” Chief Marshall Stuart Peach told the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a defense think tank in London.

“Russia, in addition to new ships and submarines, continues to perfect both unconventional capabilities and information warfare,” Peach said last week.