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Networking First Person Shooters (Games) The Internet IT

Gunplay Blamed For Cutting Fiber 276

coondoggie writes "Internet service providers in the US experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire. TeliaSonera AB, which lost the northern leg of its US network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot up over a length of a kilometer. 'Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable,' said a TeliaSonera spokesman. The company declined to name the service provider whose lines had been cut, but a source familiar with the situation said the lines are owned by Level 3 Communications Inc. Level 3 could not be reached for comment."
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Gunplay Blamed For Cutting Fiber

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  • obl. D&D (Score:5, Funny)

    by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:33PM (#20306285) Homepage
    OK, does anyone know? How many XP do you get for killing a Level 3 network?
  • by fiordhraoi ( 1097731 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:33PM (#20306293)
    took a shot in the dark (fiber)! *rimshot* That sounds deliberate, though. I can see there being a small section that was accidentally shot once, but the entire length of a kilometer? That's not just a couple stray shots.
    • However, this is one persuasive argument for making guns illegal!

      (I feel compelled to point out that I'm only joking.)

    • by Rachel Lucid ( 964267 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:40PM (#20306435) Homepage Journal
      Read: if you shoot INSIDE the fiber and along the line, you can get a lot of fiber in one shot.

      So it was deliberate, but also quite quick if done right too. Pretty devious way to take out fiber because the entire length needs replacing, not just a short section that requires a bypass.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by modecx ( 130548 )
        $25 says a disgruntled subcontractor is behind this.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 )
          I think it was someone trying to disrupt communications to see what they could shut down. If you hit the right bundles of fiber, you could effectively shut down some large cities. Or sections of them anyways. This could allow you to do a lot of things including creating a panic in the public or using the publics panic to cover your intended crimes.

          It could be a contractor though.
      • I don't think a bullet will travel anywhere near a kilometer inside a cable.
        • Well, I think they did say it was a shotgun, so it's not just a single bullet, it's many individual pellets (depending on the type of shotshell).

          However I still think that a kilometer -- or anything more than a few feet, really -- is longer than they would move inside the cable. Maybe if you fired at an oblique angle into an empty water pipe or something, so that the pellet could ricochet along inside the tube, but a cable (where the outside is presumably made of some fairly soft material that would absorb energy with each impact) ... it seems unlikely.

          To wipe out a section of cable that long I think that someone would need to walk along and repeatedly shoot it.

          What I find most interesting is that it was deliberate destruction, it wasn't accidental destruction or theft. There have been a lot of cases lately where people have stolen cable or wiring for its scrap or resale value, so I wouldn't have been totally surprised if someone had just cut and then hauled away a large section of cable (although, in the case of fiber, I don't think there's much of a resale value and they'd probably damage it beyond repair during the theft). But to go and destroy it but leave it in place, makes it pretty clear that someone did it quite deliberately, and that the damage was the goal and not just an accidental byproduct.
          • You know, a cable could be _inside_ a tube. Imagine that, a tube made for running stuff through it.
            • I TOLD you that the internet is just a series of tubes.
            • Even still, its unlikely that a single shot would ricochet along for a kilometer. Heck, most shotguns don't have that kind of range in the open, much less inside a confined space where every ricochet means lost energy for the pellets.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by sumdumass ( 711423 )
              A shotgun shoot a pattern that spreads out. The shot would eventually hit the walls of the tube and while bouncing off, each point of contact would remove inertia as well as deflect it into the other side. I can't imagine a single shot going 1 kilometer in distance like this.

              1 km is over 1000 yards. Most shotguns loss their effectiveness after 70-80 or even 100 yards and rarely have enough punch to kill something after 60 yards or so. And this is in an open field without the small confined walls the for the
              • by mpe ( 36238 )
                A shotgun shoot a pattern that spreads out. The shot would eventually hit the walls of the tube and while bouncing off, each point of contact would remove inertia as well as deflect it into the other side. I can't imagine a single shot going 1 kilometer in distance like this.

                If it were something like 100mm plastic ductwork then it's unlikely that the pellets would bounce much at all.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mls ( 97121 )
            From the comment in TFA "technicians pulled up the affected cable", and the blog entry linked to from the article:

            Once the fibre arrives they need to blow it into the 3600 feet long duct before the splicing can start. It is 60 fibres that need to be spliced.

            It would appear to me that the cable in question was buried.
            Now, I am sure there is probably an access point to the duct that you could open and stick the muzzle of a gun down. Depending on the material, it might ricochet down the length. However, I be

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by DJCacophony ( 832334 )
              Buried fiber optic cable has signs marking it along the way, to prevent this sort of thing from happening accidentally.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by oasisbob ( 460665 )

            However I still think that a kilometer -- or anything more than a few feet, really -- is longer than they would move inside the cable. Maybe if you fired at an oblique angle into an empty water pipe or something, so that the pellet could ricochet along inside the tube, but a cable (where the outside is presumably made of some fairly soft material that would absorb energy with each impact) ... it seems unlikely.

            To wipe out a section of cable that long I think that someone would need to walk along and repeate

          • by _KiTA_ ( 241027 )

            However I still think that a kilometer -- or anything more than a few feet, really -- is longer than they would move inside the cable. Maybe if you fired at an oblique angle into an empty water pipe or something, so that the pellet could ricochet along inside the tube, but a cable (where the outside is presumably made of some fairly soft material that would absorb energy with each impact) ... it seems unlikely.


            Forgive me if I'm wrong, but aren't Fiberoptic cables lined with Kevlar? It's squishy but... It'
        • by spiedrazer ( 555388 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @04:01PM (#20309629) Homepage
          I have a fiber network connecting 35 sites in my city, and about 60% of our outages come from someone shooting the fiber (we've had bullets, buckshot & an arrow) but it's not because they hate fiber! It's usually just a GOB (good 'ole boy) shootin' at some varmint. In this case, someone probably drove down the fiber in their trusty pickup shootin at birds along the way. Buckshot has a wide dispersion patter (ask the guy that Cheney shot) so they would probably get some fiber on each shot! I've got a piece of fiber on my desk with several pellets embedded in it! Move along... Nothing to see here!
    • by Doctor Memory ( 6336 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:22PM (#20307077)

      I can see there being a small section that was accidentally shot once, but the entire length of a kilometer? That's not just a couple stray shots.
      What the article neglects to mention is that they were shooting at a backhoe. They were actually defending the cable. Unfortunately, backhoes are a lot harder to hit when you've had that much cough syrup...
    • by efalk ( 935211 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:41PM (#20307431)
      The radio station I once worked for used to have its 10,000 watt transmission cable shot out all the time. Bored hunters who can't find any game are extremely destructive. We probably averaged $5,000 - 10,000 per year repairing it.
    • the entire length of a kilometer

      I don't read it that way. If you have a kilometer-long cable span and you cut it once, you've taken down a kilometer of cable. Unless you're willing to splice it in the middle, you'll replace the whole run.

      rj

    • by chundo ( 587998 )
      Given that it's a rural area, it's far more likely that some good ol' boys decided to have target practice with some birds perched on the wires. This happened frequently where I used to live, and often while they were riding in a pickup truck, which would explain the 1-km stretch of damage. Stupid yes, nefarious no.
  • by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:34PM (#20306309)
    "Hi. My internet connection's shot. It's just not working."
  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:34PM (#20306313) Journal
    My bad. I lost control. See, I'm not very good at FPS, and got tired of being spawn killed and trash talked by some 12 year old punk. But I am a bit better IRL.
  • The mob (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WPIDalamar ( 122110 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:34PM (#20306319) Homepage
    I imagine this is how the mob would get into the net neutrality / protection racket.
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Durrok ( 912509 ) <calltechsucks@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:35PM (#20306343) Homepage Journal
    We needs shotguns for this shit
  • Not Level3 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Exstatica ( 769958 ) * on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:36PM (#20306359) Homepage
    Its not speculated that it was Level3 its Cogent. Its all over Nanog.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:37PM (#20306379)
    ...who instantly pictured corporate warfare, tech condotterie, and other cyberpunk-style happenings? Imagine a van full of shotgun-weilding, blue-print reading, monacle-wearing overlords....

  • Maybe his telephone bill? Or mad over something else, like the lack of broadband to his home.
  • Shotguns (Score:5, Funny)

    by faloi ( 738831 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:38PM (#20306391)
    Because backhoes just won't cut it anymore.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Billosaur ( 927319 ) *

      Funny, but makes the idea of running fiber through the sewers [slashdot.org] sound pretty good from a security standpoint. There, I've done it -- let the fiber/sewer jokes begin again.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )
        OK, you asked for it..

        What else would you use for carrying CRAP like spam?
      • Don't mind if I do!

        Transfer -> $10 -> From -> Savings -> To Checking

        *Processing*

        FLUSH!

        Current balance: $10,842,239.12

        "Holy #$*#($@! Withdraw! Withdraw!"
      • I dunno if that is such a good idea either. You'd better make sure those lines are alligator proof [about.com].

        By the way, adding fiber is a good way to unclog your pipes.

  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:40PM (#20306437) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, some Gansta Rappa's be pissed that dey be dissed by da Intarweb homeyz downloadin' deyr tunz free and not payin' da rappa's so dey'z kin git dey's new bling - so de Gansta's be poppin' some caps inta dat Intarweb!
  • Ever since Grand Theft Auto introduced shooting up fiber optic lines into their, uh, game play sequence, urm...
  • by PavementPizza ( 907876 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:46PM (#20306547)
    ...when you shoot it out of my cold, dead ground.
  • Imagine (Score:5, Funny)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @12:53PM (#20306649) Homepage
    If someone did this to a lot of fiber links around the country. We'd be totally
  • By speculating the owner of the fiber, is the implication that this was an attack on the network?
  • remember kids, guns don't kill the internet, people do! ;-)

    Does this mean the internet should be getting a bigger gun to defend itself with?
  • Can you imagine what you'd think if you fired into the ground and light came out?
  • a combination of having too many beers and a gun available.

    Anyway - this raises the question about how the network is actually arranged - too much star topology and not enough redundancy. Of course there are some problems that arises from setting up a redundant network like the possibility of circular packet routing. But if the design is done with care it shouldn't pose a problem.

    A friend of mine suffered from the outage - no access to any service at all for a few hours - just when he needed it!

  • Five people with shotguns could virtually isolate a large city from the internet. If someone else managed to blow up a steam tunnel, crash a tanker truck or drop nerve gas into a mall, it would be downright crippling.
  • by Eponymous Bastard ( 1143615 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:13PM (#20306937)
    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my internet, prepare to die".
  • by morethanapapercert ( 749527 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:15PM (#20306961) Homepage
    quote: "When technicians pulled up the affected cable..." To me this sounds like an underground cable, not strung along telephone poles along the highway. I don't know how things are handled in the US, but here in Canada, when backbone or trunk cable is underground it is several feet underground. It is often sharing space with sewer pipes. Within a residential area, I have seen cases where cable is threaded in underground (3 to 4 feet down) plastic pipe (ABS? PVC?)in a designated "service corridor" parallel to the sidewalk, an area set aside by the municipal planners for gas, water and communication connections. Either way, there is a fair bit of dirt between the cable and the firearm. From my Reserves days I know that a .303 or 7.62 NATO round will only go about 20 inches or so into the range berm if fired at very close range, depending on soil type. A twenty inch wall of sand bags will stop most small arms fire. The idea of of a bullet penetrating enough dirt to reach the cable, penetrate the rigid pipe and then damage the cable seems implausible. (Even allowing for the fragility of fiber when dealing with impact.) Then there is the fact that even work crews digging for the stuff rarely now precisely where the cable is, they have to dig a fairly wide and long trench to access the stuff. So even if you DID have a firearm and ammunition combination capable of doing the penetration (Barrett .50 maybe?) it would take many rounds fired essentially blind into the ground to get even one hit. Many hits along a 1.1Km length would require many MANY rounds. How many big rifle rounds do you suppose you could shoot into the ground before somebody showed up to ask you what the hell you were doing?
      Shooting above ground cable doesn't have the penetration issue, but hitting that line 30 or more feet up is quite challenging as well. Any round that did hit however would stand a good chance of severing the cable altogether, making that section between poles simply fall to the ground at the severed end. There is still the problem of firing multiple high powered rounds without making the local police unduly interested. Does anyone know for sure if this was above ground or underground cable? And is it maybe hunting season in Ohio? If the cables ARE above ground and in a rural area, then maybe some drunken yahoos thought it would be a good idea to use the cables as a target in some macho bullshit marksmanship test. Most hunting rounds can easily go a kilometer or more downrange and retain enough energy to sever cable, on the other hand, deliberately hitting a target that slender from a klick away is a feat even elite military snipers would likely find challenging. Drunken yahoos would have to be within tens of yards to have a hope in hell of achieving it. One or more drunken idiots repeatedly shooting off a rifle within sight of a road does tend to attract official notice even during hunting season in rural Canada.
    • I just re-read TFA and realized the summary was misleading. (No surprise there I suppose.)
      It doesn't actually specify how many breaks the cable suffered, just that a 1.1 Km length was affected.

      "The damage affected a large span of cable, more than two-thirds of a mile [1.1 km] long, near Cleveland, TeliaSonera said."

      It's possible that it was one continuous piece 1.1 Km long that had one break. While this weakens my points, it doesn't entire negate them.
      • My theory is that somebody got into a man hole, stuck a loaded shotgun into a large, multi-purpose conduit, and pulled the trigger.

        Then some pellets continued to travel a km before making contact with something.

        Not as unlikely as your scenarious, but not probable either. A full klick sounds a little long for a shotgun.. Although, shooting into a tube can do wierd things with range due to muzzle gas emmissions and so forth.
        • by afidel ( 530433 )
          Even with a full choke you are lucky to get anything more than 3-500 feet out of a 12 gauge, the US Marines [about.com] list the effective range as 50 yards.
  • of course (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:20PM (#20307033) Homepage Journal
    "Level 3 could not be reached for comment."

    Well, duh. Their fiber's been all shot up. Of course they couldn't be reached.
  • The first thing that I thought of when I read this article was a hosting company called Latency Kills [latencykills.com].. Really makes me wonder if Level 3's lines carry any bandwidth for Latency Kills... hehehehe
  • by DrVomact ( 726065 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:27PM (#20307177) Journal

    This story doesn't make a bit of sense. They dug up some cable, and found it had been shot? Are they saying someone first dug it up, shot it, and then gave it a decent burial? That would be a lot of work. Does the cable perhaps run along a sewer tunnel, and someone crawled down the tunnel and shot up the cable over an interval of a kilometer? (Just be alert for a guy who's talking very loudly, and keeps saying, "Speak up, I can't hear you".) And no, a shotgun blast is not going to penetrate anything like a kilometer of cable if you shoot down the length of the cable.

    I'm not saying it didn't happen, but this article tells me little more than that there was a cable outage, and that the cause can't be explained coherently. Maybe it was mice...they've been known to chew up fiber optics. But that wouldn't make a good headline, would it?

    • by mpe ( 36238 )
      This story doesn't make a bit of sense. They dug up some cable, and found it had been shot? Are they saying someone first dug it up, shot it, and then gave it a decent burial? That would be a lot of work.

      Or could it be that the cable was not burried that deeply in the first place.
  • Montville, OH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jours ( 663228 ) on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:30PM (#20307221)
    I hate to spoil all the wild speculation that I'm sure is coming about sabotage, corporate meddling and such...but TFA says "somewhere between Montville, Ohio and Cleveland". Montville and the areas around it (where I live) are in the absolute middle of nowhere. The ratio of hillbillies-with-guns to things-to-use-for-target-practice is fairly high out here. It's not like someone was down in a manhole aiming at a fiber installation...more likely the beer cans fell down and the feller kept shootin' em. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
  • Sounds like... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TemporalBeing ( 803363 ) <`bm_witness' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @01:48PM (#20307569) Homepage Journal
    Someone got revenge for the utility not burying the cable. Perhaps the installers got tired of burying the cable whilst out in the country, and just laid it on the side of the road on a farmer's plot, and said farmer got annoyed they didn't bury it and shot it up. (Guessing it was in the country given (a) it's in Ohio, which has a lot of farm land, and (b) you'd have to be so far away to not hear the gun shots...though it is near Cleveland that they're talking about...so may be not...).)

    Perhaps the cable companies will sit up and start burying their cables now.
  • speed holes (Score:5, Funny)

    by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info@nOsPAM.devinmoore.com> on Tuesday August 21, 2007 @02:13PM (#20307943) Homepage Journal
    Those are supposed to be speed holes... I've heard they make it go even faster!
  • 153 comments so far, and no one questions that in the US we refer to it as gunPLAY? Come on people, where are the biting commentary and jokes?

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