Feeds

Cable-cutting vandals disconnect Silicon Valley

Police searching for AT&T snippers

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Police are on the lookout for saboteurs believed to have gone on a fiber-optic cable slashing spree on Thursday, leaving hundreds of thousands of Silicon Valley residents without internet access, landline, and mobile phone service for much of the day.

California Bay Area officials say vandals cut four cables belonging to local carrier AT&T sometime before 1:30 AM in San Jose, south of San Francisco. Another four cables were snipped approximately two hours later at two nearby locations northward in San Carlos. An additional two lines were then severed in south San Jose.

The felled fiber froze communications at hospitals, police stations, emergency services, banks, businesses, and fire departments in three counties as AT&T crews scrambled to patch the cables and reroute traffic.

Thousands of silicon Valley residents were also left with no internet access, forcing many to abandon blogging and venture out of doors where reportedly there churns a fiery sun which fills men with fear and UV radiation.

But far more serious, emergency 911 services were unavailable for many on landline and cell phones. Authorities worry some may have attempted to call in a fire or police emergency but were unable to contact help.

AT&T's regional network provides nearly all wireless, landline, and consumer broadband services to the area — resulting in outages for customers of Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint Wireless, and others.

Police say they don't know the motivation of the crime, but in each case, the vandals had to pry open manhole covers which typically weigh more than 100 pounds and require a special tool to pry open, shimmy down a shaft, and slice plastic-encased cables about an inch in diameter.

AT&T documented its doings on the telecom's Twitter feed throughout the day, reporting it was aware of the service outages in California around 7 AM PDT. (True, it's not particularly useful for those without internet access, but it's not like it was even physically possible to call them either).

"We have partially restored fiber connections serving Santa Clara and San Jose, including restoration of most 911 in the area," AT&T wrote at about 9:00 pm Thursday.

At approximately 7:00AM PDT, AT&T wrote repairs to vandalized San Jose cables were completed overnight and services are operating normally.

The company also announced on Twitter it is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible. ®

Update

Reg readers have tipped us to AT&T upping the bounty to $250,000.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.