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Spade Hacking

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Posted on July 5th, 2011 by Victoria Pal in Tech

It seems that the end of the copper-wire era in communication technologies will leave many households without any income. Scraping old copper cables is not uncommon in many parts of the world. The latest attempt to unearth communication cables coined a new term “Spade Hacking”. It now seems that all one needs to severe the communication systems of a small country is, in fact, a spade.

Spade Hacking

Case in point - an elderly lady from Georgia was able to single-handedly cut-off Armenia from the rest of the world, by compromising the main Internet line, with a spade. Take that, high-tech people with shady intents! The 75 year old woman was simply after copper wire to sell to the scrap metal market. Scavenging unused copper cables is not uncommon in Georgia and many people are able to get by thanks to old copper lines. The only problem here was that the line was operational and serving about 90% of Armenia’s Internet connectivity.

The old woman had no idea that she was about to take 3.2 million people offline for about 5 hours. Services in Azerbaijan and some parts of Georgia were also affected.  Luckily, the damage was detected by a system monitoring the fiber-optic link and a team was dispatched immediately. According to the cable line owners - The Gregorian Railway Network, the cable was exposed from landslides caused by heavy rain.

The 75 year old woman was released from custody, but may be charged with a 3 year sentence if found guilty. We hope that the authorities will take into account her age and won’t prosecute her.

Looking from a different perspective, one old woman did what many experts failed to do. In a way, she did what many Armenian IT security experts couldn't - protect the Armenian websites from Turkish hack attacks that took place earlier this year. If only the old lady and her spade were around sooner, right?

All jokes aside, the time for reaction after the Eastern-Europe located monitoring system detected the problem was lightning fast. Everything returned to normal in under five hours, which is a lot less than what it takes companies to fix the Internet connection of a single household. Again, the moral of the story is - Monitoring is important.

Victoria Pal

Doesn't like queuing (particularly at Wimbledon). Likes travelling, tennis and reading. Loves working as a Project Manager at WebSitePulse.

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