North American Network Operators Group

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Re: The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat?

  • From: Michael.Dillon
  • Date: Mon Jan 23 05:39:13 2006

> Any idiot terrorist can walk up to a CO or colo and find the entrance
> facilities (facility in more cases) and walk down the block looking for
> manhole covers with company names or logo's. 

They would have to be idiots to waste there time hunting
for buried telecom lines when they could blow up electric
towers instead. That's what terrorists did on Saturday night
in south Russia (near Chechnya) when they blew up a gas line
and two high voltage towers. They also placed explosives under
three other towers but that did not explode for some reason.

It's nice to assume that the network is so important that
terrorists would target it, but this may not be in touch
with reality. The terrorists in Russia certainly did not 
bother with telephone lines indicating that they considered
them of no more than 3rd rate importance.

Given that true physical separacy of circuit paths will
defeat both the occasional terrorist and the hundreds of 
thousands of backhoe incidents every year, perhaps people
should focus on ensuring separacy rather than worrying about
keeping secrets from terrorists.

--Michael Dillon