Zscaler CEO: 'Major' EU Internet Cable Shutdown Was an 'Act of Vandalism' |  CRN

Zscaler CEO: ‘Major’ EU Internet Cable Shutdown Was an ‘Act of Vandalism’ | CRN

Security News

Jay Fitzgerald

A cybersecurity company tries to mitigate the damage that disrupts internet connectivity in Europe, the United States and Asia. The severed cable has since been repaired.

Jay Chaudhry, CEO of Zscaler

Zscaler chief executive Jay Chaudhry calls a severed fiber optic cable in the south of France an “act of vandalism” felt by internet users around the world.

In an online advisory posted Wednesday, Zscaler, the San Jose, Calif.-based cybersecurity firm, first warned of internet issues due to a cut fiber line in southern France.

“We are aware of a major cable outage in the south of France which has impacted major submarine cables with connectivity to Asia, Europe, the United States and potentially further other parts of the world,” Zscaler reported. “Due to the cable cut, customers may experience packet loss and/or latency for websites and applications traversing these impacted paths.”

The online alert added, “Zscaler has made routing adjustments where possible to work around the issue, but in some cases we are seeing the reverse path of application/content providers which is under the control of application/content providers always traverse the affected paths.”

Then, Wednesday’s notice hinted at potentially more worrying developments: “Based on the information we have, local authorities are investigating and repair crews are on the scene but cannot access the site until police has not completed its collection of evidence”.

On Wednesday night, Zscaler’s Chaudhry took to LinkedIn and was even more blunt: “This fiber cut was an act of vandalism and affected at least three cable systems.”

He added that “our investigation identified that the issues resulted from a severed fiber optic cable in Marseille, France” and that the incident was “unique” for two reasons.

First, he said that “Zscaler detected the fiber cut and released a trust advisory long before anyone else (https://lnkd.in/eAtg4E52). Since Zscaler controls the network, we We were able to redirect traffic and mitigate the issue for our global users.”

Chaudhry seemed puzzled that the incident wasn’t getting more attention. “Interestingly, while our telecom partners have privately acknowledged the event, this event has not been widely covered even at the time of this writing,” he wrote on Twitter. .

The second “unique” aspect of the severed cable, writes Chaudhry, is that it was caused by an “act of vandalism”.

Chaudhry did not give further details, but his comments come at a time of growing concern in Europe about possible sabotage of the continent’s infrastructure.

Indeed, many suspect Russia was behind the recent major leaks discovered in the gas pipelines that connect Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea.

In the past 24 hours, there were fears that the cable line cut in France could be connected to an underwater ‘submarine cable’ cut off the coast of northern Scotland. But The Record, a publication by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, reports that the line was cut by a fishing boat.

But in a notice posting update, the company wrote on Thursday that a Zscaler operations team confirmed that one of the three broken links “has been fixed and we’ve seen a drop in packet loss. and latency for certain destinations”.

The update concluded: “We will continue to monitor and update any changes in the situation.”

In an interview with CRN Thursday afternoon, Misha Kuperman, senior vice president of global cloud operations at Zscaler, said the cable cut incident actually happened in the French city of Aix-en- Provence, located just north of Marseille.

The land cable ultimately connects to undersea lines that handle internet traffic with other countries, he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, links to three undersea cables were all repaired, Kuperman said.

As for the cause of the cut landline, Kuperman said local French and European media were reporting the incident as an “act of vandalism”. Local telecom operators report the same privately, Kuperman said.

He said there was “no evidence yet” of who might have cut the “highly sensitive infrastructure”.

    Learn more about Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald is Cybersecurity Editor for CRN. Jay previously freelanced for the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Boston Magazine, Banker & Tradesman, MassterList.com, Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, National Bureau of Economic Research and other entities. He can be contacted at jfitzgerald@thechannelcompany.com.

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