back to article FBI probe physical intrusions into Californian internet cables

The FBI is investigating a series of attacks on internet cabling in California – and has revealed that wiring has been meddled with at least eleven times in the San Francisco Bay Area within the past year. The bureau confirmed to USA Today that it is investigating a more traditional form of hacking against California's …

  1. elDog

    Maybe it's just our Big5 "allies" or another ally at the east of the Mediterranean

    That is working on tap technology. You know how it goes: I steal, you steal, we all steal. Not to say that Angela or Francois wouldn't want to have a listen too.

    Of course if it is really black-flagged beardy men, then let's raise the terror-alert level to fuschia!

    1. Precision Steamroller
      Mushroom

      Re: Maybe it's just our Big5 "allies" or another ally at the east of the Mediterranean

      Well, here in Denver, most of the fiber in the area has an additional layer of conduit it goes through called 2 to 3-inch thick concrete tubing.

      Denver's infrastructure was designed to survive an atomic blast.

      I suppose in the 1980s and 1990s when Californians were installing fiber, corners were cut. People in California probably thought their portion of the country would fall in the ocean so they just didn’t bother to take any necessary precautions, knowing they would eventually be screwed anyway; and/or the SFO Federal Reserve bank would just issue a check to rebuild it.

      Still, it overall it speaks volumes to how they fail to take care of infrastructure needs in that state. When they sold their power grid to Enron is just the tip of the iceburg. With current budget deficits, they probably couldn’t afford to dig it up and put it inside a sprinkler tube, so they call in the Feds to protect it instead.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Maybe it's just our Big5 "allies" or another ally at the east of the Mediterranean

        Ouch!

        Ok, Mr Colorado. Stop beating around the bush, do you have issues with Mr. California or not?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not likely to do with surveillance

    More than likely someone with a grudge or testing how to take out security systems.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Not likely to do with surveillance

      I'm getting that same thought. The part not mentioned is in the link.. 4 different states. They know exactly what they're cutting and it's not for the copper.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Not likely to do with surveillance

        I agree.

        Personally I would start 'kidnapping' local dogs and then slant my story to say "it was the North Koreans wot did it".

        It is probably a home grown loony or militia who can't afford Bacofoil hats and have decided to block the Lizards, Star Council, Jews, Government, Commies, Pinkos, Liberals, Running Dogs of the Imperialists et. Al and as well as Al uncle Tom Cobbley and all {1}.

        {1.} I recently had a drink with a gang of highly educated people in Chancery Lane and one of them bent my ear telling me that our lives were controlled by a Jewish Star Council {1.1}.

        {1.1} I personally know that Star Councils are invariably Masons and American Billionaires <insert big smiley and an Irony bar thingy>.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Not likely to do with surveillance

          "1.1} I personally know that Star Councils are invariably Masons and American Billionaires <insert big smiley and an Irony bar thingy>."

          Paul Weller, innit?

  3. jake Silver badge

    Gut feeling?

    This is nothing more nefarious than wannabe copper thieves who don't understand the markings on the cables. Simple answer, perhaps ... but Occam & all that.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: Gut feeling?

      We have had union memberss up for new contracts and cables got cut.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @kain preacher (was: Re: Gut feeling?)

        "We have had union memberss up for new contracts and cables got cut."

        Because throwing a temper-tantrum & breaking things always works.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Gut feeling?

      That would be my bet as well, probably Mexicans. Kali is rife with illegals and there's good money to be made recycling copper.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @ Tom 13 (was: Re: Gut feeling?)

        "That would be my bet as well, probably Mexicans."

        Racist much?

        "Kali is rife with illegals"

        Really? Seems to me that Kali would be beyond the concept of "illegal". Oh, wait, you mean "California", not the deity ... Do grow up. And learn to splel.

        1. Mpeler
          Pirate

          Re: @ Tom 13 (was: Gut feeling?)

          Kali, as in Kalifornistan. Marxist, bankrupt, perverse, perpetual desert irrigated by (largely) other states' water.

          Since Kali is supposedly a goddess of change, death, and destruction, that might explain their actions in ripping out cables, be they copper or fiber.

          Maybe they'll get even more stupid and pinch some wire from a live substation...... kind of a "take and bake", as it were.

          "Beyond the concept of illegal"...... of course, let the legitimate citizens pay for them, as in:

          "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need ".....

          Maybe Marxist Mexifornia would be better. Actually, Mexico can have CA back, then they can deal with the financial and infrastructure problems.

  4. petur

    No doubt people in black suits will assist with the repairs to make sure everything is secure

    1. Bloakey1

      Can we blame the Jews or maybe the Catholics? Us lot have been eclipsed by Isis and I long for the day when I used to be a terrorist Paddy scum bag. now I am merely that Cockney chap who thinks he is Irish.

      ISIS / ISIL etc. have stolen my lime light.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Some american was explaining how "Ok, not all muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are muslims" he didn't seem to understand my "thanks for NORAID" comment.

        Still it's nearly the anniversary of their own terrorist overthrowing of legitimate government.

        1. Amorous Cowherder
          Headmaster

          Some american was explaining...."...but all terrorists are muslims..."

          Timothy McVey, American, white Christian terrorist responsible for the Oklahoma bombing on US soil! Some people should really learn abut their own country's history.

          1. Mpeler

            While you lot (common-core-critters) are busily rewriting it.

            Here's a new word for you: false flag. Look it up.

          2. NumptyScrub

            Timothy McVey, American, white Christian terrorist responsible for the Oklahoma bombing on US soil! Some people should really learn abut their own country's history.

            In a former colony that only celebrates it's "Independance", because of armed insurrection against the legitimate government at the time*, no less. I daren't turn my irony meter on, I'd never reach minimum safe distance in time ^^;

            * one side's "terrorist" (or insurgent) is the other side's "freedom fighter" and it has always, and will always, be that way. You cannot condone (or vilify) one, without implicitly condoning / vilifying the other at the same time. Like when you overthrow the (at the time) legitimate government of Iraq, you are foreign terrorists running a campaign of violence against the State, whilst simultaneously being Freedom Fighters for the people, overthrowing a corrupt and hated regime. If you condone the freedom fighting aspect, you are implicitly condoning the violent anti-State terrorism as well, because it's just a different spin on exactly the same behaviour.

            The frequency with which I see signs of cognitive dissonance on people's faces when trying to explain that duality, worries me. They've bought into the whole "my world view is the only world view" bullshit which allows Terrorists to be considered a different thing to Freedom Fighters, rather than being 2 sides of the same coin. You can't eradicate Terrorism without removing the need for Freedom Fighters, and you'll only avoid the existence of Freedom Fighters if you never piss off anyone.

            As a government, you pretty much can't eradicate Terrorism. :'(

            1. x 7

              "bullshit which allows Terrorists to be considered a different thing to Freedom Fighters, rather than being 2 sides of the same coin. "

              thats tosh

              Terrorists are revolutionaries - i.e. commies or muslims

              Freedom fighters are counterrevolutionaries -i.e. people who hate commies or muslims

            2. Mpeler
              FAIL

              Founding fathers terrorists? Hardly

              Comparing (or alluding to) the Founding Fathers of the US as terrorists (e.g. ISIS) is absurd.

              The only thing the headchoppers want is a totalitarian nation (aka Caliphate) where there is your hated "my world view is the only world view" in full display, as it were.

              No, the Founding Fathers of the US gave up all they had, often their families, homes, livelihoods, and often their lives themselves to build what one person termed arguable the greatest democracy on earth.

              Hmmm..... let's compare that to Iraq, Iran, Libya, and other instigators of REAL terrorism.

              They only destroy, not create. Kali is oddly appropriate there, as would be Mars..... (neither battered nor fried).

              1. NumptyScrub

                Re: Founding fathers terrorists? Hardly

                Comparing (or alluding to) the Founding Fathers of the US as terrorists (e.g. ISIS) is absurd.

                The Founding Fathers work was built upon that of insurgents. People who fought and killed soldiers working for the (then) legitimate government. They were Patriots, absolutely, because they were working to free the Colony from a corrupt and hated regime. That's how they were viewed by one side in the conflict, but the other side absolutely saw them as insurgents who turned to armed revolt; aka terrorism.

                From the current US FBI definition of Terrorism:

                "Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:

                *Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;

                *Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and

                *Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

                Some of the actions of the Patriots during the American Revolution are going to fall foul of that definition, if you look at it from the point of view of the (corrupt, hated) UK Parliament.

                I am not saying they are ISIS, but I am saying they are both terrorists (as per the FBI definition of terrorist) as well as freedom fighters, and the difference is purely which side you look at them from. I've not heard of any renowned freedom fighters who, when viewed from the point of view of the other side, wouldn't be classed as terrorists, however if you are aware of any I'd be happy to hear about them :)

                The only thing the headchoppers want is a totalitarian nation (aka Caliphate) where there is your hated "my world view is the only world view" in full display, as it were.

                Actually I am lamenting the prevalence of such a polarised viewpoint here in the West. Where people are being told that "terrorists" are always and inherently evil, that government surveillance is always and inherently benign, and various other "truisms" that are trivially disputable with just a basic knowledge of history.

                For instance, I do hope that the "headchoppers" you mention are, in your own view, the tiny minority of violent fuckwits actually in ISIS or Al Qaeda (or the various IRAs, or any of the Christian terrorist groups), and that you are not using that term in a potentially bigoted manner. The Christian groups who perpetrate attacks on abortion clinics feel that they are doing God's work (they think they are Freedom Fighters) even though their acts are blatantly Domestic Terrorism as defined by the FBI, and they are just as guilty of trying to force their own world view on us as any other terrorist organisation.

      2. NumptyScrub

        ISIS / ISIL etc. have stolen my lime light.

        Your role has apparently been outsourced to a more cost effective supplier ^^;

  5. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    SF Housing Problem

    My theory:

    Working-class people priced out of the SF housing market? Need a way to give the tech industry a kick in the nuts, rather than just protesting about Google Buses? Cut lots of cables.

    1. Mpeler
      Paris Hilton

      Re: SF Housing Problem

      Working-class people have been priced out of the SF housing market for over 60 years, probably since WWII. Birdhouses there probably rent at $1500.00 a month.... birdbath extra.....

  6. vogon00

    How is this 'Hacking'?

    Whatever this is, it ain't hacking...that implies someone has done something clever and breached an information system...

    What's described here is sabotage or vandalism..

    1. Blank-Reg
      Trollface

      Re: How is this 'Hacking'?

      Well, this can still be hacking in the traditional sense in that someone hacked the cables apart

    2. theblackhand

      Re: How is this 'Hacking'?

      The suspicion is that people are getting into these locations with buckets (or similar containers), cutting these cables and collecting what falls out to take home and analyse looking for state/industry secrets to profit from.

      P.S. please great flying spaghetti monster, tell me I don't have to use the joke icon for this....

      1. Alister
        Coat

        Re: How is this 'Hacking'?

        The suspicion is that people are getting into these locations with buckets (or similar containers), cutting these cables and collecting what falls

        Can you tell that the cables are cut, by the smell of the TCP leaking everywhere?

        1. Tom 13

          Re: the smell of the TCP leaking everywhere?

          Absolutely! That stuff smells worse than sulfur dioxide.

  7. Zack Mollusc

    Ah, crap, my fibre optic tap has buggered up the fibre. Best chop that section out and run away.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    sleight of hand

    As a member of the paranoid delusional and disfunctional dedicated deadbeats, I wonder if theres a sleight of hand going on here - as all good magic tricks go!

    Simply cut cables at random places to send traffic into their backup routes whilst installing something else on the same cable at an earlier junction on the cable - no one knows any better until the cable is restored and traffic is resumed as normal....

    Or have the backup routes already hacked and monitored and now to finish the job on the primary fibres...

    Tin hat in my tin coat in my tin car in my tin garage all under a faraday cage (made of tin).

    1. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: sleight of hand

      Tinfoil hat? Maybe a Jade Helm would help :)

      Hat, coat, keys, hidden door in the wall panel.....

    2. theblackhand

      Re: sleight of hand

      Based on information available from Snowden and other sources, telco's in the UK/US/Canada/Australia/NZ were more than happy to work with governments to install the technology to capture information flowing across the telco networks without having to go to extraordinary lengths to install equipment covertly.

    3. Mpeler
      Coat

      Re: sleight of hand

      TGIF - Thank God It's Faraday???

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not necessarily hacking

    not necessarily hacking, it could be:

    - small earthquake breaking a cable

    - rats eating a cable (it did happen on a big internet cable in central London)

    - workers digging a cable (or bursting a pipe ;))

    - underground fire (again, happened in London)

    - even someone pouring too much concrete that would end up filling a room full of cable (was that last year in London? :))

  10. Amorous Cowherder
    Facepalm

    Let's face it, it has to be some little US Government dept testing how people react to loss of internet service, so they are forewarned if a terrorist attack happens and takes it out. Governments are always doing things like this, they need to know how to handle a volatile public should they lose something vital like their ability to post kitten pics on Facebook and Instagram!!

  11. Dave 32
    Unhappy

    Disgruntled

    It could also be a person who was recently laid off as their job was exported to the far east, etc. Some of those would see the irony in clipping cables to cut the communications. :-(

    Dave

  12. x 7

    practice makes perfect

    If you want to cripple the USA, take out the comms links.

    It'll be the Chinese, rehearsing / learning / developing

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