Feeds

Cable-cutting vandals disconnect Silicon Valley

Police searching for AT&T snippers

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.