San Francisco's fiber optic infrastructure is under a string of attacks and authorities are searching for a motive.
On over a dozen occasions this year, Bay Area officials found Internet data cables sliced in two. The cuts slow Internet service, interrupt financial transactions and impede emergency phone calls, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While the FBI believes the attacks are intentional, they have yet to identify a motive or a culprit.
"The individuals may appear to be normal telecommunications maintenance workers or possess tools consistent with that job role," the FBI said in a news release.
Greg Zuckerman, Special Writer at The Wall Street Journal, notes that this string of attacks shows how easy it is to cause disruption for businesses, particularly those around Silicon Valley.
“It's confounding," he says. "A few years ago you saw these kind of incidents and it made sense because copper prices were so high, so people were clipping it out and selling it on the in the market... [Now] it doesn't make much sense why people are doing this, other than random acts of violence against corporate America.”
Most of the cable cuts reported in the San Francisco area happened between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to the FBI release seeking public assistance with the investigation.
The FBI has confirmed that there is no indication of a link between these events and the attack on California's PG&E Metcalf power plant in 2013. In that attack, an individual sliced underground telephone cables shortly before snipers opened fire on the substation, knocking out 17 transformers.
Carol Pepper, founder and CEO of Pepper International, notes that sinister motives may not necessarily be involved in these recent fiber optic cable cuts.
“I personally think it's fringe elements [or] little animals down there chewing away,” she says.