Vandals take down Internet, emergency, and voice services in California

Feeling vulnerable? Maybe you should. Apparently, taking down the Internet, ATMs, and landline and wireless phone services is as easy as crawling down a few strategically located manholes and hacking through some fiber optic cables. Police in California suspect exactly that after "vandals" cut a total of 10 fiber optic cables (each containing between 48 and 360 fibers) at 4 locations on Thursday morning. The AT&T and Sprint cables knocked "tens of thousands" of San Francisco, Bay Area residents off the grid including an additional 52,000 Verizon landline and wireless customers. San Jose spokesman, Sgt. Ronnie Lopez, says that Vandals somehow managed to thwart the safeguards securing this important element of the US infrastructure. "The manhole covers are heavy," he said, "and would take quite an effort to lift, perhaps even requiring a tool." Amazing. There's been plenty of speculation that disgruntled members of the Communication Workers of America union are to blame after its contract with AT&T expired amid "strike-threatened contract negotiations" over the weekend -- something CWA officials adamantly deny. And they should... everyone knows that kidnapping corporate bosses is the hot new trend for curing the gruntles. AT&T is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the vandals.

[Via SFGate]

Update: Seems that reward is now up to $250,000. Tempting, no?