Hundreds of thousands of UK customers of Vodafone lost service this morning after switch equipment was stolen from one of the providers' data centers. Thieves broke into the company's exchange on Basingstoke, apparently by knocking down a door. Vodafone says its is reviewing its security practices in the wake of the incident.
"We had a break-in last night at one of our technical facilities which resulted in damage done to some of our equipment," a company spokesman told the Press Association. "This means that some customers may be experiencing temporary loss of voice, sms and internet services. We are working quickly to restore these and will be back to normal as soon as we can. There has been no impact on the privacy of customers' data."
While data center thefts are unusual, there have been similar incidents in recent years. Here's a look at a few of them:
- ‘Ocean’s 11′ Data Center Robbery in London - Thieves impersonating policemen stole more than $4 million in equipment from a Verizon Business data center in northern London in a sophisticated scheme in 2007.
- Peter Gabriel’s Server Stolen From Data Center - Musician Peter Gabriel’s official web site went offline in 2008 when the servers supporting the site were stolen from an ISP’s data center.
- Armed Robbery at Chicago Data Center - More than $15,000 worth of server equipment was stolen in a 2007 incident at a C I Host data center in which thieves cut through an exterior wall and assaulted an employee.
- UK Colo Theft Hobbles FT.com - In 2008 the web site of Financial Times was hobbled by a theft of equipment from a Cable & Wireless colocation center in Watford, north of London.