Johannes Ullrich from the Internet Storm Center reports that rising copper prices have prompted an increase in theft. “In my area, multiple houses and business got stripped of their air conditioners, and in some cases (mostly construction sites), copper wire was stripped out of the building and large spools were removed from the properties,” he reports. Copper prices are about $3.15 a pound today, but have been as high as $3.60 in recent weeks. Recent news stories show that copper thieves have created problems in many states, most significantly causing a seven-hour power blackout and a Verizon phone outage in West Virginia. There have been a series of reports of exterior air conditioning units being targeted. Most thefts have involved new home developments, but commercial AC incidents have disrupted Indiana’s largest food bank and an Elvis anniversary tribute in Dallas.
But the ISC warns data center operators to remain vigilant in case copper thieves become more ambitious and shift targets. “Having your AC stolen can be a huge disaster for a data center,” Ullrich notes. “Most of the time, the copper (or even aluminium) heat exchanger is outside of the building and not well secured.” As we’ve noted many times here, data center cooling is of critical importance these days. How secure is your AC unit?