Another UK Colo Theft Hobbles FT.com

The web site of Financial Times has been hobbled by a theft of equipment from a Cable & Wireless colocation center, the latest in a series of incidents at UK data centers.

The web site of Financial Times has been hobbled by a theft of equipment from a Cable & Wireless colocation center in Watford, north of London. The incident is the latest in a series of equipment thefts at UK data center facilities, including one in which musician Peter Gabriel's web servers were stolen and a break-in at a Verizon facility that British press dubbed the "Ocean's 11" heist.

ComputerWorld
reports that the Financial Times was unable to publish new articles or update data on its FT.com site Thursday following the thefts, and was forced top shift the FT.com site to backup facilities in the U.S. operated by Savvis (SVVS). Staff at the Financial Times were told that the theft did not involve the FT.com servers, but equipment from other providers that the site relied upon.

"Cable & Wireless are experiencing some network issues due to the loss of a number of servers following a break-in at our site in Watford," the company told ComputerWorld. "This being investigated and is now a police matter. We have employed a specialist engineer to minimize the loss to our customers. We can't comment on individual customers."


The Cable & Wireless incident is the fifth theft of equipment from a London-area colocation center since October, 2006. Here's a recap of previous incidents:

  • May 2008: Servers hosting Gabriel's web sites are stolen from a facility operated by Rednet Ltd.
  • Dec. 2007: Thieves impersonating policemen steal more than $4 million in equipment from a Verizon Business data center in the King's Cross section of London. The bandits tied up security guards and removed equipment.
  • November, 2006: Several router cards were stolen from a Level 3 facility in London, interrupting service for several customers.
  • October, 2006: Equipment is stolen from an Easynet data center in London. The thieves were not challenged because they apparently had valid swipe cards to access the facility.

Not surprisingly, limited details are available about these incidents. But they provide a reminder of the need for data center operators to remain vigilant on physical security and access policies.

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