Internet cut in several cities following malicious acts on optical fibers

Lucas Boncourt for Localtis

On the night of April 26 to 27, 2022, internet connection interruptions linked to cable breaks were observed almost everywhere in France. Occurring almost simultaneously, these cuts are challenging.

Optical fiber breaks occur regularly. Often linked to unfortunate blows from diggers, they can also be generated by the interventions of technicians, in particular during the final connection of subscribers. The incidents that occurred on the night of April 26-27, 2022, however, have nothing to do with STOC mode and fiber optic deployment issues.

Several major cities concerned

Three major cuts were indeed recorded in the night “a few tens of minutes apart” according to the Internet service provider Netalis interviewed by our colleagues from Numérama. These outages particularly affected long-distance cables on the Paris-Lyon, Paris-Strasbourg and Paris-Lille axes, with the cities of Grenoble, Paris, Marseille and Reims also being affected. The Bourgogne-Franche-Comté plate would even have been cut off from the internet for a few hours. The Down Detector site, which centralizes network incident reports, thus listed more than 2,200 reports from Internet users around 9 a.m.

Operators unequally affected

Both fixed and mobile networks were impacted, but the four major operators were affected unequally. Altice (SFR) claims on Twitter to have been the target of acts of vandalism around Paris and Lyon. Free, supporting photos of severed cables, also evokes “multiple malicious acts” on the fiber infrastructure during the night and in the morning, incidents that the operator claims to have “circumscribed”. Bouygues Telecom has indicated that it does not use “the links affected by these malfunctions” and Orange does not deplore on its network “any incident related to this subject”.

A particularly serious malicious act

Intervening between 3 and 5 a.m. almost simultaneously, these intentional cuts on buried infrastructures have something to challenge. An official source told our Obs colleagues that it is “a particularly “serious” and “very rare” coordinated malicious act. An investigation has been launched to shed light on acts amounting to cyberterrorism. The Secretary of State for Electronic Communications Cédric O for his part assured on Twitter that the restoration of the service was in progress and invited people cut off from the Internet to use 112. Philippe Le Grand, president of the federation of industrialists Infranum, for its part, expressed “its solidarity” and recalled that “the networks were essential for the life of our fellow citizens and our businesses, their resilience is a major issue”.

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Internet cut in several cities following malicious acts on optical fibers

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