Person takes down the Internet with a hacksaw

Over the years we've heard a couple things about deep sea cables being torn, and things like that, rendering Internet access to various parts of the world rather bad off, but this one's rather interesting. According to Bitgravity, resident in Silicon Valley woke up this morning rather confused. They had no internet, they had no 911 service, and some people had no TV. "Why?", they asked. Well, it was because somebody had decided that they wanted to cut the cables themselves, using nothing but a hacksaw to do so.

AT&T has put out a press release stating that it was because a fiber cable was cut, but of course, to make the service go out entirely for the affected areas, there had to be several cuts. According to Bitgravity, AT&T employees have actually speculated that the Communications Workers of America Union (CWA) did this themselves. This isn't to be ruled out, actually; the cuts were clean and easy to repair, so perhaps they were after some work. Not only this, but the person (or people) who pulled this off would have to have known where the cables were hidden, inside several manholes. Additionally, all of the cuts were within a short driving distance within one another, indicating it was just one person behind this.

This raises some alarms. The cuts were, thankfully, easy to repair... but it could have been much worse. Why didn't they want to truly destroy the cables? Maybe they were short on time, who knows. If it's that easy to cut a fiber cable that provides communications access to so many people, what would happen if someone decided to pull this off again, on a much larger scale? Truly quite scary, if you start to think about all the possibilities that could arise.

Maybe this will lead to an increase in security when it comes to the fiber cables around the country, and the world, to help prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

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Welcome to the house of cards that supports our communications technology. All the bohunkus flimflammery of the Dotcom bubble didn't really worry too much about physical security.

When there is an internet cable cut, people should be more concerned with the long term prospect of a tap being placed than the short term problem of downtime. An outage like this is a perfect opportunity to place a man-in-the-middle listener. It could be a foreign interest (China and Russia are already being blamed for the electric grid tampering, so why not pile on some more accusations) or it maybe the NSA didn't want to worry about AT&T whistleblowers knowing about their equipment. It's already public knowledge how to pwn MD-5 hashed certs, so they probably already have SSL cracked for deep packet inspection.

If people can learn to fly boeing 747s, hijack 3 planes of the same size heading over particular areas, take complete control over them and fly into some skyscrapers..

really, how hard do you think it would be to figure out where their fibre is layed in one city? hell, I could probably pick any random manhole in that city and see fibre in it....

It happened to my town of about 50,000 recently... someone cut and STOLE a piece of the big pipe running into town. The speculation was that they thought it was going to be a copper cable (rather than a fiber one) and worth a lot of money with the copper prices being what they were...

This was a cable TV cable, though... still, businesses and home Internet, cable TV, and IP phones on that service were out of commission.

Wow, because cutting the Silicon Valley's internet off is so much like Murder... /sarcasm

I can understand charges arising from willful damage of property and something linked to cutting off access to emergency services, but not only were there no reported deaths related to the incident, I doubt that they did this with intent to kill...

Actually, this was a direct attack on our domestic infrastructure. Terrorist, spy or otherwise, this could be classified as an act of treason or espionage which is, oddly enough, punishable by death.

@lexa000 - The fiber-cut took our major circuits to more than one data center in San Francisco and one major NAP (Network Access Point) where multiple Tier-1 and Tier-2 backbone providers interconnect. It was more than just a nuisance: how are people supposed to use 911 service if it isn't there? If just one person died because a 911 Operator was unable to be reached due to the E911 system being compromized, then it would not be a great reach to charge the people that did this with voluntary manslaughter charges, or at least a "conspiracy to commit" charge.

@Aq3e - try reading the article and / or getting more info on the topic than spouting-off with nonsensical comments.

@rafter109 - +100!!

@ScottKin - And once again, I accept that charges may arise from cutting off access to emergency services as well as willful damage to property, but, under California law, maximum penalty for any kind of manslaughter, Voluntary, Involuntary or Vehicular, is 11 years.

Under Sections 192 and 193 of Link you will find laws regarding Voluntary and Involuntary Manslaughter, though it does not clearly define what type of manslaughter this would come under.

that comment reminds me of that south park episode where the whole "internet" breaks! (and the "internet" is represented by a huge old blue-and-black Linksys router-style box!)

On base we used to have cut cables all the time. Usually some idiot with a back-hoe or some gung-ho tree trimmer. In one case it was a drunk driver vs a comm closet. The drunk driver won.

maybe was a terrorist attack , maybe a russian or a chinese spy ( i do found odd due to the late news that they didnt said it was them )

Akaruz said,
maybe was a terrorist attack , maybe a russian or a chinese spy ( i do found odd due to the late news that they didnt said it was them )

It was a pirate.