Sabotage of the Internet in France: what we know

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If you encountered difficulties accessing the Internet on Wednesday April 27, you were not alone. The fiber connections of several cities in France were severed overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, and thousands of Internet users were deprived of connection. It’s not just the fiber connections that have been impacted. These links, or backbonesall carry the data of certain operators, including for ADSL connections, mobile antennas and certain data centers. The cables are managed by SFR and form the core of the Free and SFR networks.

According to The Parisian, these are underground cables that were cut in Fresnes-en-Woëvre (Meuse), Meaux and Souppes-sur-Loing (Seine-et-Marne) and Le Coudray-Montceaux (Essonne) at tens of minutes intervals . It is the heart of the national fiber network which connects Paris to the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg and Lille as well as the surrounding regions. According to the Obsthe link with Lyon would also be severed at La Chapelle-la-Reine (Seine-et-Marne).

The perpetrators have not yet been identified

Free reports on Twitter to ” multiple malicious acts and shared photos of some of the severed cables. For the moment, there is no official explanation for these acts of vandalism but, according to AFP, the authorities have been seized. On Twitter, opinions differ. Some think that it was thieves who cut the cables to see if they contained copper. However, the way in which they were cut and the different locations targeted rather suggest intentional sabotage.

Free indicates that its teams have been mobilized since 4 a.m. and have succeeded in containing the incidents, except in Reims and Gravelines. Free and SFR have been able to redirect most of the traffic on backup links and repairs are underway. On the other hand, networks ofOrange and Bouygues would not be affected.

A criminal complaint

As a direct consequence of these malicious acts, a preliminary investigation was opened on Wednesday April 27, indicated the wooden floor of Paris with charges of “deterioration of property likely to harm the fundamental interests of the Nation”, “obstructing an automated data processing system” and “criminal association”. According to AFP, the investigations are entrusted to the DGSIInternal Intelligence, and the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ).

“All the operators lodged a complaint and filed a civil action, clarified on France News Michel Combot, Managing Director of the FFT (French Telecoms Federation). In the case of this Wednesday, it is an almost professional act, there are several coordinated attacks across the country with a few minutes of interval. It is an attack on an unprecedented scale. »

How to better protect the cables?

Another reaction, that of Philippe Le Grand, the president of Infranum, a federation which brings together the various players in the digital infrastructure in France. ” Given the essential and strategic nature of networks today, such cuts are likely to have dramatic consequences, such as the delay of life-saving operations,” he reminds of BFM-TV, referring to the high-speed links needed in healthcare. ” The federation insists once again on the need to launch a major plan of resilience networks. »

This sabotage puts, in fact, in light the lack of security and surveillance of the pylons and Cableseven if, according to Michel Combot, “ it is a bit illusory to want to protect everything (…) To better protect access to cables, we can set up security perimeters and reinforce access to hatches “.

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Sabotage of the Internet in France: what we know


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