Home Retiree Cuts Off Armenia’s Internet

Retiree Cuts Off Armenia’s Internet

When first Egypt, then Libya, shut down their entire country’s Internet, it was big news. These acts, along with various national cyber-attacks, reminded us how fragile our connection to the Web can be.

But I don’t think anyone anticipated that one retired lady with a garden trowel could shut down the Internet for a whole country. But that’s exactly what happened to Armenia.

Hayastan Shakarian, a 75 year-old Armenian woman in neighboring Georgia, was scavenging for copper in the village of Ksani to support her meager income and wound up unearthing and severing two fibre-optic cables that served as the trunk line for Armenia’s Internet.

According to BBC News, the woman was arrested and faces a jail term of three years. However, she has been released by the court until her trial.

During her prospecting and stripping pipes and wires of copper, she cut cables that belonged to Georgian Railway Telecom company. These lines bring Internet access to eastern Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenia’s ISPs – ArmenTel, FiberNet Communication and GNC-Alfa – were dead throughout the evening of 28 March. This is not the first time such a thing has happened. Another cable was cut in 2009, also by a scrap metal scavenger, according to Agence France-Presse. That incident briefly interrupted Internet service to part of Georgia.

If the fact that an old lady with a shovel can shut off the Internet to three countries doesn’t convince you our connection to the Web is fragile, I don’t imagine anything will.

Carving photo by Narek | other sources: Arka, Gawker

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