Unsolved Mystery Attack on Internet Cables in Paris: Lumen, Zayo and DE-CIX have all said their services have not been down or affected for a long time and have all been repaired. In many cases, Internet traffic is manually or automatically rerouted through other cables. “We had three very difficult hours because the backup link was not active,” said Netalis Guillaume. Crews at Netalis restored connections so many customers experienced “limited impact,” with repairs beginning 10 hours after the initial incident that lasted “several dozen hours.”
Currently, there is very little information about who is behind these attacks. No groups or individuals have claimed responsibility for the damage, and French police have not announced any arrests in connection with the cuts. Neither the Paris public prosecutor’s office nor Annecy, the French cybersecurity agency, responded to WIRED’s requests for comment.
In the month of June, CyberScoop reported “Radical ecologists” who oppose digitization may be behind the attacks, it said. However, multiple experts speaking to WIRED were skeptical of the suggestion. “It’s very unlikely,” said Combot. Instead, in many of the potentially destructive cases he’s seen, telecom infrastructure attackers target cell phone towers where the damage is obvious and take responsibility for their actions.
In France—and more broadly around the world—attacks on telecom towers have increased in recent years, including cutting cables, setting cell phone towers on fire, and attacking Engineers. When the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, attacks on 5G devices increased. Conspiracy theorists mistakenly believe that network swearing is dangerous to public health.
Although some are careful not to assume that environmentalist groups are behind the April attacks, there is an example of such actions in France: A Research by Environmental News Outlet December 2021 Reporter, as noted by CyberScoop, documented more than 140 attacks on 5G devices and telecom infrastructure. These attacks are said to show a pattern based on “rejection of the digitalized society”.
In one of the other biggest attacks against French networks, more than 100,000 people struggled to get online. May 2020 After cutting several cables. In the last three months, there have been 75 attacks on telecom networks in France. However, since 2020 the total number of attacks has decreased.
Cambot said the April attack was one of the “biggest incidents” targeting telecom infrastructure in recent years.
It also highlights the vulnerability of local internet cables. “Breaking the Internet is not good for those who have the idea to do so, because the Internet is vulnerable locally but resilient globally,” Guillaume said.
While cutting cables and setting fire to cell phone towers can cause temporary Internet outages or slowdowns, Internet traffic is usually rerouted relatively quickly. In short: taking the internet offline at scale is hard. The Internet is highly resilient to human acts of vandalism, damage from natural events and Canadian beavers thrash through cables.
That doesn’t mean threats to connectivity won’t cause widespread disruption. “I fear that these attacks will happen again in France and in other parts of the world,” said Cambot. “There are vulnerable points everywhere in the world,” he said, highlighting Egypt, where subsea cables run between Europe and Asia. In June the EU published an in-depth review of subsea internet cables More steps should be taken to protect them.