France: Attack on fiber optic cable slows international data traffic

France: Attack on fiber optic cable slows international data traffic

On the night of 19 October, repair groups of French fiber optic cable providers had to go out again: in the Marseilles area, cables were cut in at least three places. Because international traffic also flows through Marseille, this time data traffic to Australia or Southeast Asia is also affected.

Again this provider was Free 1337 shortly after the attack Images of damaged fiber optic lines published. The cable covers were opened once again and the cable strands from Free’s backbone provider, SFR, were professionally separated. US cloud provider Zscaler reported disruptions on the Marseille-Lyon, Marseille-Milano and Marseille-Barcelona routes.

Free had already published photos in April of this year, when four fiber optic lines were cut in the Paris area. The attack affected not only Free and its backbone provider SFR, but about a dozen other telecommunications providers and vendors as well. A rented DE-CIX dark fiber network was also breached, as it was later discovered.

A new attack based on this pattern is likely to hit many companies again. OVHcloud said some of its traffic was being rerouted between Marseille and Singapore after a cable break was discovered at 3:04 p.m. EST. Use of alternate routes ensures higher latency and higher usage on lines fault report, They are working with fiber optic operators to eliminate the interference.

According to reports that are yet to be confirmed, network providers Zayo and Cogent, which were already affected in April, have also been affected.

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It is the “international dimension” of this new attack that sets it apart from the April acts of sabotage, says Nicolas Guillaume, CEO of Nasca Group, which also owns ISP Natalis. While French traffic was mainly affected by the attack in April, this time international lines have also been affected as Marseille is a hub for international connections.

Guillaume said his company has also been affected by the recent attack. However, the restrictions for customers may be limited by existing emergency options. Such contingency plans and redundancies are how providers can adapt to the ongoing wave of attacks. In addition, the location of the cables helps with the secrecy of the maps. Guillaume believes there may be millions of end customers who experience more or less severe restrictions on Internet or mobile phone services.

In response to a request from Haise Online, the Directorate General of Internal Security and the Central Directorate of the Paris Criminal Investigation Department informed Haise Online that approximately 300,000 customers were affected. However, the investigation, which was launched in April, is still ongoing, confirms Guillaume. Requests to officials about a possible combination of “old cases” with new attacks remained unanswered for the time being.


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