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Re: The Backhoe: A Real Cyberthreat?
From: Jeff Shultz <jeffshultz () wvi com>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 12:42:17 -0800

Jerry Pasker wrote:

While it is always fun to call the government stupid, or anyone else for that matter, there is a little more to the story.

- For one you do not need a backhoe to cut fiber
- Two, fiber carries a lot more than Internet traffic - cell phone, 911, financial tranactions, etc. etc. - Three, while it is very unlikely terrorists would only attack telecom infrastructure, a case can be made for a telecom attack that amplifies a primary conventional attack. The loss of communications would complicate things quite a bit.

I'll agree it is very far fethced you could hatch an attack plan from FCC outage reports, but I would not call worrying about attacks on telecommunications infrastructure stupid. Enough sobriety though, please return to the flaming.

I agree with you on all points except the one you didn't make.  :-)

The point is: What's more damaging? Being open with the maps to EVERYONE can see where the problem areas are so they can design around them? (or chose not to) or pulling the maps, and reports, and sticking our heads in the sand, and hoping that security through obscurity works.

The people who have the problem areas should already know about them and be designing around them. I'm sure that Sprint, for example, knows very well where backhoes have gone through it's fiber. Although it sounds like they may not know where all their fiber is... <sigh>

Joe Schmuck down on 2nd Street doesn't need to know about the problem areas and his input would likely be unwelcome.

And no security or amount of redundancy is likely to be perfect - and these companies are in business to make money after all.

Obscurity is not the entire answer. But it should be part of it.

Jeff Shultz

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