An employee enters the meet-me-room at a major carrier hotel in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami. He is a young guy recently graduated from high school, hired to do cable removal for circuit disconnects at minimum wage. Although young, he has a wife and child, and has recently been fighting with in-laws over his ability to support a family. Frustration and anger overcome his emotions, and he turns to the ladder rack jammed with cable and starts hammering at the cables for all he is worth.
Network operations centers around the world see circuits dropping, and customers with critical financial, military, Internet, and broadcast news services are shut down. In the space of about one minute our young employee has taken down several thousand individual circuits, creating near chaos in the global telecommunications community.
In their report on Trusted Access to Communications Infrastructure, the NSTAC Vulnerabilities Task Force advises ""it is important to recognize that any one individual with malicious intent accessing any critical telecommunications facility could represent a threat. The threat of insiders performing malicious acts also transcends each type of site discussed in this document."
Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. (Wikipedia)
Attempts to censor Internet content have been around for years. In the good old days of the US Internet we had a lot of innovative censorship ideas including the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and the "clipper chip." In recent years we've added additional utilities demanded by the Children's Internet Protection Act and Online Predators Act.
It is not only the United States. Many countries around the world restrict Internet access for a variety of reasons, both political and to prevent access to "indecent" materials.
Last Thursday (9 Apr 2009) brought a new experience to many in the telecommunications industry - a malicious attack on two separate underground fiber optic systems. The damage wiped out normal communications, including emergency 911 services, in many areas of the San Jose/San Carlos area, including service as far away as Gilroy.
This is the first time most in the telecom industry have experienced intentional disruption to telecom infrastructure, and both industry experts and authorities are scrambling to understand the WHYs, HOWs, and WHOs of the incident.
The telecom industry, and watchdogs looking at the telecom industry, have long advocated stricter oversight and control over critical telecom infrastructure. In New York most manholes are not secured with any kind of lock, allowing virtually anybody with the desire to enter the underworld of critical infrastructure. In downtown Los Angeles there is a high density of telecom carriers centered in the Wilshire, West 7th, and West 6th area. In addition to telecom infrastructure, the power company, water, and sewage share the space below our major streets and intersections. Thus, if there was a desire for malicious activity below the streets of LA, or other major cities, it is not just telecom, but nearly all our critical infrastructure services which would be damaged or seriously disrupted.