Vodafone UK data center robbed; hundreds of thousands lose service

Vodafone UK users were suddenly cut off from all data services today. According to a Vodafone forum post, the loss of service wasn’t a technical failure; it was an old-school physical break-in. The target wasn’t the actual disruption of service, as would usually be the case in a targeted attack like this. Rather, the culprit seemed to be after the equipment. Vodafone reported that some network equipment and other IT hardware was stolen, causing many customers to lose data service.

The attack happened in Basingstoke, between 1:00 AM and 2:00 AM, and police were immediately notified and are still investigating. Vodafone is assuring customers that the privacy of their data was in no way affected by the break-in. There were rumors going around that up to 4 million customers were affected by the outage, but Vodafone claims it was only a few hundred thousand (out of a total 19 million subscribers).

Vodafone is currently working on getting full service back up for all its users, but right now, only 2G and 3G voice services are back on line. According to Engadget, the rest of the service should be up and running in “a few hours.”

Image credit: Engadget

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Yes, but their one data centre is not generally vunerable to a few blokes with a JCB getting through the wall, finding and disconnecting a bunch of valuable and high-profile systems (£100,000+ each from what I've heard), loading them into getaway vehicles and driving away unhindered.
Such a shambles of security is unacceptable.
The fact they have no redundancy for the equipment is poor, but potentially an acceptable risk in terms of cost. Would have thought they would have a way of re-routing around the affected regional centre to others though.

lol. Maybe this is what happened to the entire Australian Vodafone Network. Absolutely horribly terribly broken at the moment.

My business phone is with BT Mobile who use Vodafone network.
Somewhere early in the morning of 28/02 I just had my BlackBerry displaying "SOS" (no signal).
Only in the afternoon I saw "GPRS, EDGE, 3G" displayed intermittently, but still, neither data ops (Internet browsing) nor voice calls were possible.
Even at 11PM having 4-5 bars at home, and 3G displayed, no pages could be loaded.
Only at 2-3AM today I am now able to use 3G mobile Internet.

How does one datacentre cause such an issue? What if there was a fire and whatever fire suppression failed or a bomb or plane crash or flooding (not sure if that would be possible in that location). It'd probably take a lot longer for that datacentre to become available again. Vodafone really should look at their network resiliency.

Xeron said,
How does one datacentre cause such an issue? What if there was a fire and whatever fire suppression failed or a bomb or plane crash or flooding (not sure if that would be possible in that location). It'd probably take a lot longer for that datacentre to become available again. Vodafone really should look at their network resiliency.

Those datacenters are not very likely to catch on fire or fall down.
And dont think they'll put a datacenter on the edge of the Themes.
There are few ISP's that use more then 1 datacenter as the risk of such a place going down the shreds is very minimal....usually.
I think vodafone should just use a different datacenter.

My sister is on vodafone and she has had no bars all day at all. I am personally not with vodafone as I find their call charges to be too high.

Inklin said,
My sister is on vodafone and she has had no bars all day at all. I am personally not with vodafone as I find their call charges to be too high.

Again your sister will need to switch her phone off and back on again, and possibly do a manual roam to get back onto the network. The cell info will have changed and your sister is probably on the stolen equipment.

I'm in Oxford, near 17:00 here and I still can't make outgoing calls, and only one incoming call has made it through Everything else just got instantly disconnected before I could even try and pickup.

yakumo said,
I'm in Oxford, near 17:00 here and I still can't make outgoing calls, and only one incoming call has made it through Everything else just got instantly disconnected before I could even try and pickup.

And they said only DATA service was effected ?????

yakumo said,
I'm in Oxford, near 17:00 here and I still can't make outgoing calls, and only one incoming call has made it through Everything else just got instantly disconnected before I could even try and pickup.
Manually roam your phone to another network then reconnect to Vodafone. I can assure you that all voice calls are pretty much back to 100%.

I was without service for about 18hrs and even when it returned it was terrible. Same thing... I'd see missed calls but my phone didn't ring, whilst outgoing calls just clicked and hung-up. Very annoyed. I really hope they do something to compensate users or I'm switching to another network when I renew my contract.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I was without service for about 18hrs and even when it returned it was terrible. Same thing... I'd see missed calls but my phone didn't ring, whilst outgoing calls just clicked and hung-up. Very annoyed. I really hope they do something to compensate users or I'm switching to another network when I renew my contract.
I know what you mean, my GF couldn't contact me at all and lost out on £70 having to call out a locksmith because of this
Business users could well have lost out a lot more.

I guess Vodafone isn't spending much of their profits on security measures! I mean, I don't mean to brag but my Mom's Dell she plays Scrabble on is probably harder to get to than Vodafone's gear ROFL

JamesWeb said,
19 million subscribers... 62 million people in the country... Are you telling me that almost 1 in 3 people are with Vodafone? Because I don't actually know anyone who is.

Vodafone have over 25% market share in the UK which equates to approx 19 million accounts. As a percentage it doesn't have anything to do with population....I have 3 contracts with mobile providers, one personal phone, one business phone, and one datacard - that equates to 3 accounts but only one person.

19 million subscribers... 62 million people in the country... Are you telling me that almost 1 in 3 people are with Vodafone? Because I don't actually know anyone who is.

JamesWeb said,
19 million subscribers... 62 million people in the country... Are you telling me that almost 1 in 3 people are with Vodafone? Because I don't actually know anyone who is.

I am, but only because the WP7 LG exclusive has 16GB as opposed to a measley 8 : ( x

JamesWeb said,
19 million subscribers... 62 million people in the country... Are you telling me that almost 1 in 3 people are with Vodafone? Because I don't actually know anyone who is.

Before the Orange/T-Mobile merger I think the split was along these lines: O2 at 27 per cent, Vodafone with 25 per cent, Orange with 22 per cent, T-Mobile at 15 per cent, and 3 with around 6 per cent.

Remember there are lots of people with more than one phone, I have a personal and a business phone ...

Seems like more of a burglary than a robbery. Burglaries are when people break in and take stuff with nobody present. A robbery is when people take stuff when people *are* present, and robberies typically involve some kind of threat of physical force to encourage bystanders to allow the theft to happen without resisting. Since a robbery is more serious due to the threat to human life, it's probably best to not mislead people with careless term selection - otherwise they might think that Vodafone employees were emperiled by this intrusion when they were apparently not.

Neb Okla said,
Seems like more of a burglary than a robbery. Burglaries are when people break in and take stuff with nobody present. A robbery is when people take stuff when people *are* present, and robberies typically involve some kind of threat of physical force to encourage bystanders to allow the theft to happen without resisting. Since a robbery is more serious due to the threat to human life, it's probably best to not mislead people with careless term selection - otherwise they might think that Vodafone employees were emperiled by this intrusion when they were apparently not.

I'm sure that it makes a huge difference whether or not it was a robbery or a burglary.

LiquidSolstice said,

I'm sure that it makes a huge difference whether or not it was a robbery or a burglary.

It will big time, when it comes to the law!!

This is First Degree Burglary since it happened at night. Bad Guys could get 25 years in jail for this.

Neb Okla said,
Seems like more of a burglary than a robbery. Burglaries are when people break in and take stuff with nobody present. A robbery is when people take stuff when people *are* present, and robberies typically involve some kind of threat of physical force to encourage bystanders to allow the theft to happen without resisting. Since a robbery is more serious due to the threat to human life, it's probably best to not mislead people with careless term selection - otherwise they might think that Vodafone employees were emperiled by this intrusion when they were apparently not.

Yes it is a burglary, but your definition of a burglary is flawed. The proper definition is when someone enters a property with the intent of committing a crime.

So it doesn't matter if the place is burglarized with someone present or not or the items are on a person or not. The burglary would still be classified as a burglary if the person entered with the intent of committing the crime (which is NOT limited solely to theft).

http://www.answers.com/topic/burglary

war said,
It will big time, when it comes to the law!!

This is First Degree Burglary since it happened at night. Bad Guys could get 25 years in jail for this.

25 years for burglary maybe in Saudi, the most these tea leaves will get if caught is a couple of years and a bit of probation!

Frazell Thomas said,

Yes it is a burglary, but your definition of a burglary is flawed. The proper definition is when someone enters a property with the intent of committing a crime.

So it doesn't matter if the place is burglarized with someone present or not or the items are on a person or not. The burglary would still be classified as a burglary if the person entered with the intent of committing the crime (which is NOT limited solely to theft).

http://www.answers.com/topic/burglary


robbery is also used when you get robbed on the street by (in the UK) chavs

Someone close to the operation of Vodafone told me it was actually a software ****up + human error and the datacentre thing is just a coverup.

Matt Hardwick said,
Someone close to the operation of Vodafone told me it was actually a software ****up + human error and the datacentre thing is just a coverup.

I actually find that hard to believe

Matt Hardwick said,
Someone close to the operation of Vodafone told me it was actually a software ****up + human error and the datacentre thing is just a coverup.
Uh...

police were immediately notified and are still investigating
I do think Vodafone aren't stupid enough to falsify a police report.

Matt Hardwick said,
Someone close to the operation of Vodafone told me it was actually a software ****up + human error and the datacentre thing is just a coverup.

I doubt it, it would be an incredibly stupid choice of cover story.
Making up that the area your customer's data flows through is so 'easily' breached makes you look much worse than a simple glitch.

WoW.. I thought those service provider installations are high security zones ?? At-least in my country they are.. Having high guard walls, lot of armed security personals and such..

I can chew the fact of a tower (BTS) equipment getting stollen or such, but a data center getting robbed is not quite understandable

Choto Cheeta said,
WoW.. I thought those service provider installations are high security zones ?? At-least in my country they are.. Having high guard walls, lot of armed security personals and such..

I can chew the fact of a tower (BTS) equipment getting stollen or such, but a data center getting robbed is not quite understandable


i've been to a couple of datacenters in Amsterdam.... its build like a goddamn fortress
same with our ISP's in holland.... they are almost bunkers, no way your getting in without them knowing
always told angry customesr to visit us at our main address which was highly secured with guards at the entrance and some walking around
oh and the ISP i worked for, owns dutch Vodafone aswell or well, whats left of it

Shadowzz said,

i've been to a couple of datacenters in Amsterdam.... its build like a goddamn fortress
same with our ISP's in holland.... they are almost bunkers, no way your getting in without them knowing
always told angry customesr to visit us at our main address which was highly secured with guards at the entrance and some walking around
oh and the ISP i worked for, owns dutch Vodafone aswell or well, whats left of it

Here is a more logical answer

Matt Hardwick said,
Someone close to the operation of Vodafone told me it was actually a software ****up + human error and the datacentre thing is just a coverup.

Shadowzz said,

oh and the ISP i worked for, owns dutch Vodafone aswell or well, whats left of it

I dont hope you mean KPN? xD because its Unstable like Crap with their "false advertisements" atleast their Internet + Bloody Speedtouch Modems


FransB said,

I dont hope you mean KPN? xD because its Unstable like Crap with their "false advertisements" atleast their Internet + Bloody Speedtouch Modems


Telfort actually. (whic is like XS4ALL as its standalone too).
Changing tho as Telfort switching to use KPN WBA instead of their own XTL network
and KPN Bussiness(zakelijk) is still the best connection available thanks to the SLA's KPN offers.
Dont get why many bussinesses use a budget provider like telfort with their Best Effort SLA.

oh and dont forget, entire network is KPN's, so no matter what provider you use, the network except the DSLAMs are KPN's
besides that, the AMS-IX is 'owned' or well, maintained by KPN aswell.

altho i agree Speedtouch sucks ass, good thing Telfort comes with Zyxel modems <3 havent seen such an 'advanced' modem with any other provider. as most come with sh*tty limited modems.