Attacks on long-distance fiber-optic cables caused internet outages in several parts of France, carriers SFR and Free said on Wednesday.
The cyber section of the Paris public Prosecutor’s office opened a criminal investigation, a spokesperson told Bloomberg. The probe has been entrusted to the DGSI, the French security agency, and the judicial police.
The cables, which connect areas of Paris to the cities of Lyon, Strasbourg and Lille, were physically cut in several places, according to a person familiar with the incident who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A spokesman for SFR — owned by Altice France SA — said that the priority was to restore the network. B2B carrier Netalis called the attack a “major incident, unprecedented in its scope.”
Free — owned by Iliad SA — said in a tweet that “multiple malicious acts” affected its fiber networks during the night and morning, with incidents still being handled at midday in the cities of Reims and Gravelines.
Multiples actes de malveillances sur infra fibre durant la nuit et la matinée. Incidents circonscrits, problèmes résiduels en cours de correction sur Reims et Graveline. Equipes Free mobilisées depuis 4h du matin.
— Free 1337 (@Free_1337) April 27, 2022
The exact number of users impacted seems low, thanks to redundancies in the networks. Free indicated that fewer than 1% of its fiber subscribers were hit — around 40,000 users.
The carrier posted several photos of the incidents on Twitter, showing intentional cuts on several fiber cables, making it hard to repair.
Photograph: Fiber optic cables, center, and copper ethernet cables feed into switches inside a communications room at an office in London. Photo credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
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