POLITICO runs a headline: Pentagon preps for economic warfare as vandals cut communications cables in four locations in the South San Francisco Bay area early Thursday morning. The sabotage knocked out phone and Internet service to more than 50,000 people as well as thousands of businesses including 911 services, communications to hospitals, stores, financial networks and emergency services, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The unknown vandals had to use a special tool to remove manhole covers and then climbed down to access the cables, some as thick as a silver dollar. At least a total of 500 optic fibers were cut, according to the San Francisco Chronicle report. AT&T — whose service was most affected by the cuts — owns cables at two of the locations, the company said in a statement. The telecommunications giant offered a $100,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the saboteurs.
The attack underscored that, while security and policy experts warn that cyber attacks on critical infrastructure pose a significant danger, physical vulnerability continues to be a major issue. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed intelligence officials had stated that Chinese and Russian hackers had infiltrated the networks of several power companies. The admissions come as the Obama administration undertakes a 60-day review of its cybersecurity policies, as two senators introduce a bill that would create a top advisor to the president, and as the National Security Agency fights to become the lead agency for cyber operations.
The vandals struck as AT&T negotiates with its employees’ labor union, the Communications Workers of America. The union’s contract has run out, but the workers have not yet scheduled a strike. The CWA stated through a spokesperson that its leadership does not believe any union members were involved in the sabotage, according to the Chronicle.
The damaged fiber optic line owned is by AT&T and leased out to Verizon. This does not appear to be a ‘false flag’ dry run. The union is suspected of cutting the cables on purpose, although they deny it. It was deliberate and the culprit knew exactly where to cut. The cables were 10ft underground and they had to climb down a manhole in the middle of the night to do it. Whoever the perpetrator was, they left Comcast running on purpose. Perhaps they were using services from Comcast and wanted to keep that network up to communicate over the network about their actions or to use it to witness the chaos that it caused. Who knows.
This should only serve to highlight a point made very lucidly by, among other sources, a 2003 Washington Post article regarding the fragility of our modern communications and essential services infrastructure. The article was about a 29- year old George Mason graduate student who, using public, non-classified information available for free on the net, mapped out the entire nation’s fiberoptic system for a dissertation on the vulnerability of public infrastructure. The information in the dissertation was considered so dangerous that Richard Clark said it should be burned after being turned in. >> Source
So what can you do to prepare for when the telecommunications go down in your area? Well for starters, you can follow the advice Mike Ruppert gave several months ago which is to get yourself some 2 way radios and distribute those to people you trust who live within walking distance from you.
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