Cyber Terrorism in Bay Area

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Landis82, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Sabotage Attacks Knock Out Phone Service

    Ryan Kim, Nanette Asimov,Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    (04-09) 17:16 PDT SAN JOSE

    -- Vandals cut fiber-optic cable lines belonging to AT&T at two locations early today, knocking out phones and access to 911 emergency services to thousands of residential customers and businesses in southern Santa Clara County, in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties and along the Peninsula, authorities said.

    Four AT&T fiber-optic cables in an underground vault were severed shortly before 1:30 a.m. along Monterey Highway north of Blossom Hill Road in south San Jose, police Sgt. Ronnie Lopez said. Four more underground cables, at least two of which belong to AT&T, were cut about two hours later along Old County Road near Bing Street in San Carlos, authorities said.

    John Britton, spokesman for AT&T, said, "Clearly, we have some vandalism. Someone purposefully and deliberately cut the wires."

    He added, "We can't speculate about any connection, but the method of operation appears to be the same."

    Britton said the four cables that were cut in San Jose were about the width of a silver dollar and were encased in tough plastic sheath. One cable contained 360 fibers, and the other three had 48 fibers each.

    In both instances, saboteurs had to use a piece of equipment to lift heavy manhole covers and climb down several feet to get to the cables. They would have to have been equipped with heavy-duty cutting equipment to slice through the thick cable coating.

    Police in San Jose and San Carlos are sharing information, said Cmdr. Rich Cinfio, a spokesman for San Carlos police. Investigators said they had no suspects in either act of vandalism. AT&T announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators.

    Verizon, which depends on AT&T cables in the South Bay, said its 52,000 landline customers who lost service in southern Santa Clara County came back online just before 4:30 p.m. Britton said AT&T hoped to have all service restored by 7 p.m.

    Landlines, cell phones and the Internet were all affected. The outage knocked out 911 service, and officials said anyone without phone access who needs emergency help should get to a police or fire station or hospital on their own or flag down a law enforcement vehicle.

    Extra sheriff's deputies, firefighters and police officers were on the streets in the affected areas, authorities said. Additional ambulances were on hand at St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy.

    "We're having a more visual presence out there in the field," said Sgt. Don Morrissey, Santa Clara County sheriff's spokesman. "We're out there to be the conduit, if you will. We're trying to bridge that communication gap between emergency services and citizens."

    The outage was nearly tragic in at least a couple of instances.

    Destiny Evans of Gilroy began blacking out this morning at her job as an office manager at Ortho Sports in Gilroy. Her boss, Joseph Abmont, called 911 on a landline and cell phone, but couldn't get through.

    So he put Evans in his car and drove her to St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy, where she was diagnosed with a kidney infection.

    "He was my savior," Evans said as she left the hospital later in the day with her boyfriend.

    Florance Lijon of Gilroy was at home when her 84-year-old mother began to feel ill. She tried to call 911 to summon an ambulance. "I couldn't call nowhere," Lijon said. "I couldn't use my home phone, I couldn't use my cell phone, I couldn't use my computer. I was miserable."

    Finally she drove her mom to the hospital.

    "I worry about people that don't have a car," Lijon said. "It's a good thing I could take her. I was going to call the ambulance, but I couldn't."

    St. Louise spokeswoman Jasmine Nguyen said the hospital was rescheduling elective surgeries out of concern that if something went wrong, would be no way to contact doctors.

    Hospital personnel were driving to doctors' houses to get word to them if they were needed. They were also using a satellite phone and walkie-talkies to communicate.

    "We literally feel like were on an island right now," Nguyen said. "It's bringing us back to the Stone Age."

    Most of the service outages were caused by the San Jose vandalism. Among those affected were customers of Verizon, Verizon Wireless and Sprint wireless, which rely on AT&T to carry their phone traffic back to their networks.

    Verizon spokesman Jon Davies said the outage was first reported to the company at 1:25 a.m. He said about 52,000 of the company's landline customers were affected in the Gilroy and Morgan Hill areas. Verizon is the sole provider of landlines in southern Santa Clara County.

    Verizon Wireless customers were also affected in southern Santa Clara County and from Watsonville to Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County.

    At least one of the severed San Carlos lines belongs to Sprint, which lost service for several thousand landline business customers. Crystal Davis, a crisis communications manager for Sprint, said the company was able to restore service to some of its customers by rerouting traffic.

    Davis said she couldn't recall the last time a concerted effort was made to attack multiple phone lines.

    "Fiber cuts happen all the time, usually by accident. Someone is drilling for a water line or a power line," she said. "But a specific act of vandalism, I can't say that I recall it."

    The vandalism comes as AT&T is in talks with the Communications Workers of America for a contract covering more than 80,000 employees, who have been working under their old deal since it expired at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. Union members voted in late March to authorize a strike but have not scheduled one.

    Candice Johnson, spokeswoman for the CWA, said union members were not involved in the incidents.

    "I can state that CWA members have nothing to do with this at all," Johnson said. "There is an investigation going on and we'll fully cooperate. But our members are working. They're on the job."

    In 2004, 1,200 Bay Area customers temporarily lost service after vandals cut wires at SBC telephone boxes in Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro and Vallejo. The vandalism took place during a four-day CWA strike of SBC, which became AT&T.

    Britton said AT&T has a good relationship with the CWA and was continuing to negotiate with the union on their contract.
  2. Bush?
  3. LOL, certainly Lupus82's implication