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Security United States

High-Tech Attack Alert For 2016 Super Bowl (thestack.com) 60

An anonymous reader writes with news about a Homeland Security memo concerning potential technological attacks during the Super Bowl. The forthcoming Super Bowl event on 7th February could be at risk of a high-tech attack against fans both inside and outside the San Francisco 49ers Stadium. A security memo issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security has warned that the annual game could be a target not just at the stadium, but at other commemorative events taking place in San Francisco and in the Silicon Valley. One of the chief concerns is the various sabotages committed against fibre cables in the area. As the fibre optic cable networks function as back up communication systems in emergency situations, these are a possible target for the attackers. By destroying these cables, response times could be slowed down.
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High-Tech Attack Alert For 2016 Super Bowl

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  • Someone has "high tech" cut the fibre! Where will my pr0n go?

    And why wait for the Super Bowl to do this?

    And why is this a "threat"?

    • Well, seeing as my team of choice is out of the running, it's no concern of mine any more.

      The threat of an attack at the stadium is always real, albeit probably fairly small. The awareness has been heightened because of the recent events in California and France, of course, but that doesn't really mean it's more likely. Any significant damage done would be purely psychological. In Tom Clancy's thriller about a nuclear blast on American soil, the terrorists chose the Superbowl as ground zero. It's a uniq

    • Someone has "high tech" cut the fibre! Where will my pr0n go?

      Best to start laying in a good supply ahead of time.

      And why wait for the Super Bowl to do this?

      And why is this a "threat"?

      Think about it. Interfering with Superbowl commercials will be devastating to the US economy. If the game itself cannot be seen, there will be parties all over the world where there is nothing to celebrate.

      And I guarantee you that at least one team will lose that day.

      These effects will cascade and the fabric of the universe could be rent.

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      Think of all the ads running during the event and the huge amount big corporations won't make if people don't see the ads.
      This is a real threat agains democracy. Think of the children!

      • Yeah, but all of that will be inserted from the network HQ in New York City, from a satellite feed from a dish on a truck outside the stadium. Probably more than one, for redundancy.

        No fiber will be used to get the television signal out of that place. It's all done via satellite.

        • all of that will be inserted from the network HQ in New York City, from a satellite feed from a dish on a truck outside the stadium. Probably more than one, for redundancy.

          No fiber will be used to get the television signal out of that place. It's all done via satellite

          Hmmm..., well, not naming any names but our asset inside the Kremlin referred to as "Cardinal" thinks that method might not work either.

    • Frisco has earthquakes for that. just ask Major League Baseball.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hyperbole much?

    This is another shining example of shit media. You're reporting on a possible "slow down" on back up services, without mentioning risk to "primary services?"

    That's like saying: the backup generator could potentially be acting up but the grid is operating perfectly and looks to be able to operate perfectly. ... And the real question is, what the fuck does this even mean? Nothing.

    Might as well masturbate and after just piss into the wind... It's certainly be more impactful on your life.

    • "Might as well masturbate and after just piss into the wind.."

      I do NOT wish to subscribe to your newsletter. Please do not tell me more...
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @02:30AM (#51342145) Homepage Journal

    I'd be willing to bet that all of those fiber cuts were caused by would-be copper thieves who didn't know how to tell the difference between the two. Copper wire theft is happening fairly frequently in the Bay Area, thanks in no small part to growing poverty rates.

    Ask yourself which is more likely—a few people trying to make a quick buck or a vast underground conspiracy of terrorists trying to find the optimal places to sever fiber lines to maximally disrupt communications and delay emergency response so that they can attack the Super Bowl in some way... and doing it by randomly cutting the lines to see what happens, rather than by stealing maps of where all the fiber goes....

    I mean yes, there's a chance it is terrorism-related. There's also a chance that someone stole Adolf Hitler's DNA and cloned him in a secret laboratory so that he could bring about the end of the world, and that these fiber cuts were caused by his clone army of mutant mice with laser beam eyes. I'd bet on the latter before the former....

    • by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Thursday January 21, 2016 @06:31AM (#51342625)

      I'd be willing to bet that all of those fiber cuts were caused by would-be copper thieves who didn't know how to tell the difference between the two. Copper wire theft is happening fairly frequently in the Bay Area, thanks in no small part to growing poverty rates.

      Two years ago you'd be correct. But now? Copper is down 24% in the last year alone; it's currently only $2/pound.

      http://www.infomine.com/invest... [infomine.com]

      When copper was $3+ (and especially at $4), yes, copper theft was an issue. However now that prices are down copper theft has dropped off significantly. Which is not to say that it has gone away entirely, but when copper is this cheap, stealing it and fencing it is an increasingly poor use of time at a whole $2 per pound. So I would be surprised if that was the issue; there are better ways to make money at these prices.

    • by eth1 ( 94901 )

      I'd be willing to bet that all of those fiber cuts were caused by would-be copper thieves who didn't know how to tell the difference between the two. Copper wire theft is happening fairly frequently in the Bay Area, thanks in no small part to growing poverty rates.

      Our company has circuits all over the place, and by far, the most common notes from the carriers regarding cable cuts is "cable damaged by construction activity nearby. dispatching splice team." IOW, some dumbass with a backhoe.

    • This.

      I'll add, as well, that someone going through the trouble of planning such an attack will want as much attention for it as possible. That's the whole point of a terrorist attack: to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible, in order to spread terror. Cutting communications cables is basically the exact opposite of what someone planning a terrorist attack would do.
  • The cable cuts that have occurred in the Bay Area have been above-ground cables, but all the cables in the vicinity of the Levi's Stadium (where the Superbowl is being held) are buried. So potential attackers have first to dig up the road.

    There will be a big police presence so I doubt that someone digging up the road on Superbowl Sunday would go unnoticed.

    • You don't have to dig up the road. You just have to get into one of the lockers. They are under the sidewalk, IIRC, and you need some kind of fancy tool to open them, but it's not impossible. You don't need a backhoe.

      • You don't have to dig up the road. You just have to get into one of the lockers.

        That's true. I had not considered that. However, there is a lot of fibre in the area (for example, Savvis has a datacenter nearby) so, unless you knew which cable to cut, you would have to cut a lot of cables. You might set off an alarm by cutting the wrong cable.

  • It's all fun and games, until someone sets off a NNEMP device buried under the 50 yard line. ... I think that was part of the plot in a bad movie. I've noticed that a lot of credible threats are taken straight from movies and TV shows.

  • 'Foot'ball threatened. Expected casualties are lethargy, beer sales, ad. revenue.

    DISPATCHING THE NATIONAL GUARD.

    -- End public service announcement --

  • Fibre cutting is not high-tech, it requires an axe or a saw, and is similar to cutting a rope. As some others have noticed, fibre cutting probably comes from failed attempts to steal copper wires, rather than an intentional sabotage to the telecommunication network.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Nowhere does it say that there is any evidence of someone planning an attack. No mention of any specific group like ISIS or Al-whomever. There is literally no intelligence behind this warning, spy type or IQ type. It's just frightened people who are paid to be paranoid screaming "Bogeyman!" Worse yet, they are giving ideas to the few bad guys out there who may not have thought of this. TFA even mentions the dreaded "lone terrorist" who can't be spotted/tracked because he talks to no one. That kind of person

  • The article quotes the FBI memo as saying, "the FBI and DHS have no information to indicate any specific, credible threats to or associated with Super Bowl 50 or related events". Which means that the people paid to be professionally paranoid and anticipate potential attacks have... Done their fscking jobs and anticipated potential attacks! ZOMG, the sky is falling! Personally, I think it's going to go down like this [imdb.com].
  • I await reading the FBI/DHS memo detailing the alert on the threat of the Sweet Meteor of Death hitting the 2016 Super Bowl. I mean, come on, the odds are about the same as for this.

  • "One of the chief concerns is the various sabotages committed against fibre cables in the area. As the fibre optic cable networks function as back up communication systems in emergency situations, these are a possible target for the attackers. By destroying these cables, response times could be slowed down."

    The fucked up thing is that this might actually have more of an impact on many Americans than actual civilian deaths 'elsewhere' do.

  • If you are a terrorist organization and are planning a sophisticated attack, why in the world would you "tip your hand" this far in advance?

    Why not cut the cables a couple of hours in advance?

    Not saying it isn't a valid concern, but something doesn't seem right. I think the more obvious explanation is that there are disgruntled (that is probably one of the funniest words in the English language, btw) people in the area who want to shit on everyone else.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      You might test considerably in advance of the actual event to see what kind of results can be expected and to gauge any law enforcement response.

    • disgruntled (that is probably one of the funniest words in the English language, btw)

      "I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled." (PG Wodehouse)

  • You can buy a drone like this (http://ebay.to/1lzsmj8) that can lift 15 pounds of weight for under $10k. Imagine someone with a van and 3 or more of these loaded with plastic explosives. Many can even be set to fly a preset GPS pattern. A moderately capable individual could launch a series of these miles from the event and have them drop their payload into the Superbowl or some other large event. They wouldn't likely directly kill thousands, but I bet hundreds would be killed just from the stampede of peopl

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I would think that if something like that were to happen, it would have happened already.

      Like attacking a major shopping mall on the day after Thanksgiving when there are enormous crowds and the usual "Look at how many people are shopping!!!111" stand-up TV spots there to feed the fear directly to the people at home.

      Now you've not only made huge news, you've managed to scare people out of shopping malls and gut the American retail economy of profit for the year.

      That this *hasn't* happened in spite of how ob

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        I would think that if something like that were to happen, it would have happened already.

        That is a great argument up until the first time that it happens and there has to be a first time.

        That this *hasn't* happened in spite of how obviously vulnerable these places are to even the typical American mass shooter, let alone some group with any kind of advanced planning and better weapons leads me to believe it ain't gonna happen, either. Like maybe the threat isn't nearly as real as the media makes it out to be

        • "I would think that if something like that were to happen, it would have happened already."

          That statement was valid on 9/10/2001 concerning the theory that 19 men could take over a set of airliners and use them as guided missiles to take out iconic representations of capitalism.

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