Super Bowl, California fiber-optic network attacks could be linked: FBI

The FBI is considering the possibility that a string of fiber-optic cable cuts in the San Francisco Bay Area and the upcoming Super Bowl 50, to be played at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, might be connected.

According to a memo obtained by NBC News 4 in Washington D.C., the FBI, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other agencies are looking into whether the fiber attacks are linked to a "more complex plot" against the Super Bowl, scheduled for Feb. 7.

As of now, the FBI and DHS have no specific information and don't know of any credible threat toward the game, but the recent attacks on fiber-optic cables could indicate individuals or groups are testing network vulnerability in the area.

In September of 2015, AT&T (NYSE: T) offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people that had damaged fiber networks in Ukiah, Calif. during an attempted copper theft.

In August of 2015, the FBI said that 12 separate acts of vandalism on fiber-optic networks in the San Francisco area had disrupted service and impacted emergency calls. In June, the FBI was investigating attacks on Zayo's and Level 3's fiber networks in the area and had yet to determine a motive for the attacks.

A large venue like Levi's Stadium, which seats about 68,500, relies on fiber backhaul to support a big influx of cellular activity from attendees. In anticipation of the extra traffic around Super Bowl 50, DAS Group Professionals in September 2015 began redeploying a new DAS that will effectively double the capacity.

For more:
- read this NBC News 4 article
- read this Ars Technica article
- read this Mobile Sports Report article

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