Cyber-attack in Morgan Hill

Bruce Perens has an interesting article about an event that garnered far less attention than it should:

Just after midnight on Thursday, April 9, unidentified attackers climbed down four manholes serving the Northern California city of Morgan Hill and cut eight fiber cables in what appears to have been an organized attack on the electronic infrastructure of an American city. Its implications, though startling, have gone almost un-reported.

That attack demonstrated a severe fault in American infrastructure: its centralization. The city of Morgan Hill and parts of three counties lost 911 service, cellular mobile telephone communications, land-line telephone, DSL internet and private networks, central station fire and burglar alarms, ATMs, credit card terminals, and monitoring of critical utilities. In addition, resources that should not have failed, like the local hospital’s internal computer network, proved to be dependent on external resources, leaving the hospital with a “paper system” for the day.

The attack is as mysterious as it was successful. I suspect that the “disgruntled ex-telco worker(s)” theory is probably the best explanation.

I loved how the local Ham Radio enthusiasts came to the rescue.

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