operators arm themselves to protect themselves

operators arm themselves to protect themselves

Fiber cut, antenna sabotage: operators arm themselves to protect themselves

Motion detectors, buried cables, connected locks, operators act to protect their networks, which are increasingly under attack.

Fiber cut, pylons on fire, sabotage abounds and impacts subscribers, while also causing financial damage on the operator side. 30 voluntary degradations per month on the fixed networks between November and last April, announces the FFT, and at least 15 on the mobile, it is therefore necessary to act. Faced with an acceleration of attacks on their infrastructures, operators continue to take measures to better protect themselves.

As Les Echos reports, motion detectors and automatic lighting have been installed at the foot of mobile sites, France having 60,000 4G supports and 35,000 in 5G. Electrical cables were also buried.

For its part, Orange is continuing its tests by equipping certain street fiber cabinets with connected locks, enough to do without triangular keys. According to the incumbent operator, the number of alerts from subscribers has been halved. Presented on May 19, 2021 on the sidelines of the signing of an agreement between Orange and the municipality of Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine in Seine-Saint-Denis, this system also allows to photograph the inside of the cabinet before and after the intervention of each technician. Another advantage of this innovation designed to avoid Internet shutdowns thanks to AI and the Internet of Things, that of quickly triggering the intervention of the municipal police when an act of vandalism is committed.

But not only that, it is also a question of supervising the intervention of the technicians at a time when the quality of the connections today often poses a problem. “We hope that by invoicing the repair of damaged cabinets to each operator responsible for it, they will be encouraged to improve the quality of their interventions”, pointed out Patrice Cointe, director of the Orange Ile-de-France intervention unit.

The telcos are also experimenting with video surveillance, although it is inconceivable to equip all the pylons. This could be useful on isolated sites that are very regularly targeted by attacks.

As a reminder, a national agreement was signed in March 2021 between the operators and the ministry in order to improve relations in 44 departments between the telcos, the gendarmerie or the prefecture.

For Arthur Dreyfuss, former president of the FFT and secretary general of Altice France, the response to sabotage must also result in heavier penalties. “For damage to antennas, the fines range, according to the Code of Civil Enforcement Procedures (CPCE), from 1,500 to 3,750 euros. They are accompanied by a two-year prison sentence. The penal code provides for two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 30,000 euros for any degradation or deterioration of a property.” he said in May.

Orange already 2 years of action

In June 2020, Orange had already posted his intention to take over the problem. The incumbent operator indicated that it was preparing the response in conjunction with the police. It was a question of advising and expediting investigations, in order to organize rounds of the police and gendarmerie or even private companies. In addition, the operator wanted to set up a vast communication plan, based on video surveillance panels on the sites, but also thanks to messages sent to the press. In short, sensitize the police to the problem on one side and deter attackers on the other.