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16 Sep, 2015 17:27

Fiber optic cables in California sabotaged 11 times, AT&T offers $250k reward for info

Fiber optic cables in California sabotaged 11 times, AT&T offers $250k reward for info

FBI agents in California are investigating the cutting of two AT&T fiber optic cables earlier this week – at least the 11th such attack in a year. The telecommunications company is offering a $250,000 reward for information.

The most recent attack – which took place in the town of Livermore, a San Francisco Bay Area suburb – involved the cutting of cables in two different manholes at about 10:30 p.m. local time on Monday, AT&T said in a statement.

The attack caused internet service to be disconnected, and crews were still working to restore the service on Wednesday.

The thin cables carry vast amounts of data, including phone calls, computer transactions and emails.

It's at least the 11th such attack in just one year. The FBI already has an open investigation into other similar attacks on California cables, and assures that the most recent incident is not being taken lightly.

"It's being taken very seriously by the FBI and our law enforcement partners," said Michele Ernst, a spokeswoman for the bureau's San Francisco field office.

It comes just two months after someone severed at least three fiber optic cables in an underground vault in Alameda County, California, which disrupted internet and phone service around Sacramento for 20 hours.

The FBI said those responsible typically open an underground vault, climb inside, and cut through the cables' protective metal conduit before severing the lines themselves. It also said the attackers may be dressed as utility employees.

Meanwhile, security experts believe the attacks may be the work of a disgruntled employee, or of terrorists aiming to determine how long it takes to repair the infrastructure.