Verizons Spring Break-In

New details emerge in the theft of network infrastructure from a Verizon colocation facility that caused a day-long outage for competitors.

According to published carrier reports filed with the Federal Communications Commission, a variety of things, from natural disasters to careless maintenance, can result in disruptive and costly network outages. But sometimes, as in the case of a Verizon Communications Inc. central office last spring, the cause can be deliberate.

As first reported in eWEEK in May, the co-location floor of a Verizon central office in New York was burglarized, leaving a handful of carriers—all Verizon competitors—without network service to the large Midtown Manhattan market for, in some cases, an entire business day.

Since the theft and after numerous interviews with people at the scene the night of May 2, eWEEK has learned more details of the heist, the cost of which New York City Police Department officials pegged at $433,000.

Of primary concern for all those contacted for this story was the obvious lack of even the most basic security measures in the building, and the colo office in particular. Of the four separate doors to the 8th floor colo office, which housed networking racks for Sprint Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., XO Communications Inc. and Looking Glass Networks Inc., the main door lacked a working lock. Furthermore, it was routinely left open.

Second, all the network racks in the colo office that were burglarized were secured by simple Allen wrench bolts.

An IT administrator for one of the colo companies, who was called in on the night of May 2 to troubleshoot the alarm, said what he found—rows of empty racks with doors flung open—was surreal. "My jaw literally dropped. I said no way," said the administrator, who requested anonymity.

In addition to the absence of a security system, the only guard on duty at the building that Sunday night was a Verizon security official primarily responsible for monitoring the fire alarm system. No night watchman walks the floors.


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Next Page: No working cameras the night of the theft.