Baku Days: Spade Hacker Strikes!

The results of the "spade hacker's" work...

The Internet in Baku is variable at the best of times. Sometimes we get 70 kilobytes [of the 100 we actually pay for] per second and sometimes, often in fact, a lot less. Earlier this week , Internet connection in some parts of Azerbaijan disappeared completely for several hours when an elderly lady in neighbouring Georgia chopped the main fibre-optic cable bringing the service to most of Armenia and parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan with a shovel… Here is the story gleaned from,news-10768.html

A 75-year-old woman in Georgia is facing a prison sentence after she knocked out a large portion of Armenia and Georgia’s internet for a number of hours. While searching for copper scrap, the woman is said to have damaged fiber optic cabling that provides 90 percent of Armenia and much of Georgia with internet access. Armenians were reportedly without internet access for 12 hours while Georgians were without access for five. Web users in Azerbaijan were also affected.

According to AFP, a representative for Georgian Railway Telecom, the company that owns the cabling, said they don’t know how the woman managed to get at the cables in the first place.

“I cannot understand how this lady managed to find and damage the cable,” the head of the company’s marketing department, Giorgi Ionatamishvili said. “It has robust protection and such incidents are extremely rare,” he said.

The woman is said to have found the cables while scavenging for copper.

“She found the cable while collecting scrap metal and cut it with a view to stealing it,” Georgian interior ministry spokesman Zura Gvenetadze told AFP.

She has been charged with damaging property and, if she’s convicted, could spend up to three years in the pokey. Though the investigation is ongoing, the woman was granted temporary release because of her old age. Local media have dubbed her the spade-hacker.

The irony of course is, that fiber-optic cables contain no copper but are bundles of very thin glass, coated in plastic…



About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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