Feds hunt for suspects in California internet backbone attack

A string of attacks in California on one of the core portions of the internet has the FBI searching for suspects. The latest disruption occurred yesterday morning when three fiber-optic cables were cut in Alameda county in the Bay Area. The interruption affected internet access for individuals and businesses throughout Northern California and was fixed early Wednesday morning. This is the 11th time in the past year that an individual or group of individuals have vandalized fiber optic cables in the Bay Area. The first such attack occurred on July 6, 2014 in Berkeley. FBI special agent Greg Wuthrich told Engadget, "The FBI is coordinating with local law enforcement partners as these cuts are happening in multiple cities and jurisdictions."

The severed cables belonged to backbone-internet companies Level 3 and Zayo. In order to access these cables, the vandals had to remove manholes and enter underground vaults. While the cut lines were fixed within a day, it does highlight how easy it is to disrupt the internet within the physical world. In a statement, the FBI asked for the public to contact it if anyone saw anything suspicious at one of the sites and added that, "the individuals may appear to be normal telecommunications maintenance workers or possess tools consistent with that job role."

So instead of the internet being brought down by a virus or super hackers, it turns out that someone with a set of bolt cutters could severely disrupt how we get our news and do business.

[Photo credit: Getty Images]