75-year old granny cuts off the Internet for an entire country

A 75-year old grandmother accidentally cut off Internet service to Armenia residents on Thursday, after she was looking for copper. The elderly woman single-handedly took down an entire network in Georgia after she sliced through the fiber cable with a shovel; Azerbaijan's service was also disrupted.

While the elderly lady was looking for scrap metal, she stumbled upon the underground fiber-optic cable, cutting it open with her shovel to look for copper. As Foxnews and Nakedsecurity explain, the intent of cutting open the cable was to steal the copper to sell it. The shovel wielding woman was nicknamed the 'spade-hacker' by local media outlets.

The fiber that was sliced served all of Armenia, more than 90% of Georgia and parts of Azerbaijan. Service was disrupted for more than five hours while the cable was repaired, restoring Internet to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan residents.

The elderly woman was arrested at the scene and later released after the investigation and may face charges.

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Heard about this earlier. Figured it was a real hack. not that sort of slice. that'll be an expensive replacement

Having been there last year for business, it is not hard to believe that story!

However it seems unlikely that almost the entire nation lost connectivity. Most homes are getting 3G wireless routers nowadays (it's much cheaper to deploy wireless vs lay out cable in a mountainous area) and the main connection goes through south of Armenia into Iran etc..It is hard to believe all residents were w/o internet access.

So there is a reason an entire company we work with had no internet connectivity issues in the past 30 days in the region...

Reminds me of my mum putting a shovel through our virgin media cable which was about 3" under the surface.

My neighbour also managed to hack her gas supply as that was less than 2" under the surface.

My thoughts were along with many, especially why such a cable was so easy to access.
What nobody asked was this: How is it a 75 yo woman could use a 'shovel' to cut a cable?

I know shovels have sharp edges, but it still takes a heavy hand to raise the shovel high enough to break the cable. Fiber cables are as thick as telephone cable, but still.

And as it was said my a few, suppose it just happend to be an electrical line?
Fry granny fry.

Dynamic said,
Can you imagine losing your Internet connection and finding out this was the reason why.
I'd shoot first, ask questions later.

LaP said,
may face charges.
------------
Seriously ?

This got to be a joke.

Digging without a permit on public land? Its illegal anywhere including the US

Lachlan said,

Digging without a permit on public land? Its illegal anywhere including the US

I think he's disbelieving of the word "may". I would have thought it'd be "certainly".

Pointing out here, fiber cable typically only has a small amount of copper in it, from my experience, usually used to keep it rigid or as a guide/hanging wire. So I am not sure what she was really doing.. maybe Soviet Russia spy!

xendrome said,
Pointing out here, fiber cable typically only has a small amount of copper in it, from my experience, usually used to keep it rigid or as a guide/hanging wire. So I am not sure what she was really doing.. maybe Soviet Russia spy!

You're saying you'd expect her to know its just a fibre cable?

xendrome said,
Pointing out here, fiber cable typically only has a small amount of copper in it, from my experience, usually used to keep it rigid or as a guide/hanging wire. So I am not sure what she was really doing.. maybe Soviet Russia spy!
Huh??? You think she knew what she was doing? I'm pretty sure she didn't know what was actually in the cable. She was looking for copper but had no idea what it was when she went chopping into it.

Besides, a 75-year old Russian spy? Are they getting that desperate?

xendrome said,
Pointing out here, fiber cable typically only has a small amount of copper in it, from my experience, usually used to keep it rigid or as a guide/hanging wire.

All of the fiber cables I've ever seen had either plastic or fiberglass rigid members, not a conductive material like copper. Even if they did use metal, it would more likely be steel or aluminum, not something as expensive as copper.

COKid said,
They arrested her? Only in Armenia.
Why? She was trying to steal copper, I'm pretty sure she would be arrested in most civilized countries.... And executed on the spot in less civilized ones lol

Subject Delta said,

She would have been arrested in the UK as well. Criminal damage, and theft.


US as well. Hell, we have people who will steal outdoor A/C units here to get at the copper coils inside.

Mark Thomas said,
Cool news! Two days ago. Neowin on the ball again.

Who gives a damn when it was originally reported, I never saw the report and don't sit on the internet all day everyday looking at every tech news site like you must do.

Mark Thomas said,
Cool news! Two days ago. Neowin on the ball again.

Pardon, today is Thursday, you living ahead of everyone one else, fancy giving us the lotto number for this coming Saturday?

mps69 said,

Pardon, today is Thursday, you living ahead of everyone one else, fancy giving us the lotto number for this coming Saturday?

mps69 said,

Pardon, today is Thursday, you living ahead of everyone one else, fancy giving us the lotto number for this coming Saturday?

Today maybe Thursday but the cable was cut last Monday and reported by other news sites 2 days ago

Stupid granny, oh look a big massive cable it must have copper in it. Even if there was copper what about if there was electricity going through it ?

But one cable for an entire country, the UK law states telecom cables have to be at least 350mm down but such an important cable should be down a few metre's to avoid these sort of incidents.

What's next, Grandpa cuts of gas supply to Australia.

Gaffney said,
What's next, Grandpa cuts of gas supply to Australia.

That headline would most likely read "An elderly man exploded in Australia after...".

Elessar said,
Time to euthanize...

No don't be so silly, more like euthanize the people who laid the only cable that shallow in the first place.

they only had one backbone going into the country? wow... you'd think they would have at least some type of redundancy

neufuse said,
they only had one backbone going into the country? wow... you'd think they would have at least some type of redundancy

exactly my though..... wow that's crazy and scary...

neufuse said,
they only had one backbone going into the country? wow... you'd think they would have at least some type of redundancy

we are talking about very small nations with low population, borders tensions and no connection to ocean.

neufuse said,
they only had one backbone going into the country? wow... you'd think they would have at least some type of redundancy
Not only that. The cable was apparently exposed or very close to the surface. They said she "stumbled upon" the cable. I can't imagine a 75-year old woman is out there digging 6 feet into the ground looking for copper so obviously it was on the surface or very close to it.

It's funny that she just decided to cut into it for copper. She had no idea if that line was carrying electricity. Cutting into could've sent her flying through the air!

syobon999 said,

we are talking about very small nations with low population, borders tensions and no connection to ocean.


Population of the countries in question:
Georgia: 4,636,400 (so 90% would be about 4,172,760)
Azerbaijan: 9,047,000
Armenia: 3,262,200
That is 16,481,960 people left without internet access (assuming all of them had it to begin with). That would be similar to one of the larger (or several of the smaller) US states losing internet access simply because of a cut in a single cable.

Tim Dawg said,
She had no idea if that line was carrying electricity. Cutting into could've sent her flying through the air!
Maybe she was actually smart enough to use a current detector, saw that there was no current (since it was fiber), and said "ok, safe to cut this one".

roadwarrior said,

Population of the countries in question:
Georgia: 4,636,400 (so 90% would be about 4,172,760)
Azerbaijan: 9,047,000
Armenia: 3,262,200
That is 16,481,960 people left without internet access (assuming all of them had it to begin with). That would be similar to one of the larger (or several of the smaller) US states losing internet access simply because of a cut in a single cable.

Wow, Mexico City alone has about 22 Million, an let's not talk about Tokio and the like

roadwarrior said,
Maybe she was actually smart enough to use a current detector, saw that there was no current (since it was fiber), and said "ok, safe to cut this one".
But if there was no current (and decided it was fiber), what would be the point of cutting into it in search of copper?

neufuse said,
they only had one backbone going into the country? wow... you'd think they would have at least some type of redundancy

they are not the only ones. wasnt there a recent underwater cable cut leaving some country without internet?

roadwarrior said,
Maybe she was actually smart enough to use a current detector, saw that there was no current (since it was fiber), and said "ok, safe to cut this one".
Or she was just using a wooden handled shovel.

L1ke 20 N1njas said,
But if there was no current (and decided it was fiber), what would be the point of cutting into it in search of copper?

Read again what I wrote. I never said SHE KNEW it was fiber, only that it didn't have current (perhaps thinking it was an old dead cable).

Gladiatorus said,

Wow, Mexico City alone has about 22 Million, an let's not talk about Tokio and the like

Yeah, there are some cities that have incredibly high population density. So what? That still doesn't excuse the fact that cutting one cable killed internet access to rougly 17 million people (in three different countries!!). That is a LOT of people, no matter how you look at it. My city has roughly half a million in the metro area, and I can guarantee you that there is no way in hell that cutting a single cable would take out internet access to EVERYONE here.