Outside plant protection, fiber cuts, interwebz down oh noes!
Patrick W. Gilmore
patrick at ianai.net
Thu Apr 9 19:43:11 CDT 2009
On Apr 9, 2009, at 6:04 PM, Charles Wyble wrote:
> Seriously though I want to start some discussion around outside
> plant protection. This isn't the middle of the ocean or desert after
> There were multiple fiber cuts in a major metropolitan area,
> resulting in the loss of critical infrastructure necessary to many
> peoples daily lives (though twitter stayed up so it's all good). :)
> It would appear that this was a deliberate act by one or more
> individuals, who seemed to have a very good idea of where to strike
> which resulted in a low cost, low effort attack that yielded
> significant results.
> So allow me to think out loud for a minute....
> 1) Why wasn't the fiber protected by some sort of hardened/locked
> conduit? Is this possible? Does it add extensive cost or hamper
> normal operation?
This was supposedly an inside job, and I even heard the cabinets were
locked. How do you stop an employee with the key from opening a
lock? (See #2.)
> 2) Why didn't an alarm go off that someone had entered the area? It
> was after business hours, presumably not in response to a trouble
> ticket, and as such a highly suspicious action. Does it make sense
> for these access portals to have some sort of alarm? I mean there is
> fiber running through and as such it could carry the signaling.
> Would this be a massive cost addition during construction?
Possibly, and yes.
> 3) From what I understand it's not trivial to raise a manhole cover.
> Most likely can't be done by one person. Can they be locked? Or were
> the carriers simply relying on obscurity/barrier to entry?
Probably, and who knows?
How much did this cost the telcos involved? Probably nearly nothing.
How much would it cost them to do what you suggest in #2? Probably
1,000,000 times nearly nothing, _at_least_. Guess what the telcos
involved will choose? Hell, you would too in their place.
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