Sabotage in Marseille: a lot of noise for little money

Late last week, Zscaler followed Free and SFR earlier this week than on the night of Monday October 17th to Tuesday October 18th around 3:00 am, a segment of the backbone fiber that carries the Internet. westward from Northern Europe to Marseille, was torn off near Aix-en-Provence.

Enough to slow down Internet and telecom traffic for several hours. before returning to normal.

“Resilience of the Internet and Telecommunications”

Thus, this incident testifies, first of all, to Fabrice Cochio, Managing Director of Interxion France, which operates three data centers in the city of Marseille, about the “resilience of the Internet and telecommunications”.

Contrary to what was reported in various press articles, only one sabotage was observed on one site. The editing took place in a living room near Aix-en-Provence. This was called the jigsaw section. “This is proven sabotage, not accidental uprooting,” points out the CEO.

However, two points intrigue the expert.

Not every fume hood was selected

On the one hand, this is not just a living room chosen by the criminal (criminals) to work. “There are hundreds of thousands of drawing cameras in France,” he says, “about one every 500 meters. And none of them are truly reliable. “Regardless of whether it is protected or not, if you like. “Open up,” he says.

But “some draft cameras are much more important than others,” he says. “And in the room that was attacked, intentionally or not, were the national backbone networks.” Or “telecommunication pipes” through which international communications pass. This explains why the reduction affected the three main lines of the European Internet network: Marseille-Lyon, Marseille-Milan and Marseille-Barcelona.

Hence the rapid large-scale shutdown marked by key customers, carriers and CDNs.

The occurrence of the phenomenon

“You cut the segment, the connection no longer goes through,” says Fabrice Kokio about this. “But the strength of the communication network and the Internet lies in its ability to provide redundancy. CDNs and telecom operators have reorganized their flows automatically or manually very quickly. The incident was settled within two to three hours.”

But what worries the CEO of Interxion France more than anything is the growth of this phenomenon. “In April 2022, a very similar malicious act took place in Paris, and since these are the segments that were affected, the impact in Marseille was significant.”

As for advice, he recommends that every professional user take a serious look at contracts. Because “the devil is in the details,” he emphasizes. “I have a major client who was affected by a glitch when he had two service providers who provided his reservations. No luck, these two service providers were using the same connection which was dropped.”

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