Supermarket giant Sainbury’s had its website knocked offline for several hours following a break in at the company’s Internet Service Provider, Cable and Wireless. But the thieves weren’t looking for high tech server equipment or valuable customer data – one theory suggests that they were just looking for some copper cabling.
A few reels of copper wire might seem like an odd reason to break into a major ISPs network site, however the rising cost of copper has led to soaring scrap values and, in turn, a spate of metal thefts across the country.
Although the blackout was resolved relatively quickly, this is the second time the supermarket has suffered internet troubles. Last month an internet outage took its website down for two days. Estimates put the cost of crash at as much as over £1m, and Sainsbury’s offered a £10 gift card as compensation to the 20,000 people affected.
The surging price of copper has been fuelled by global demand, especially by newly emerging economic powers of China and India. With everyone now feeling the effects of global economic slowdown and surging fuel costs, it seems likely that metal thefts will continue to rise. Given that many networking components use a lot of copper, Sainsbury’s may not be the last website to be affected by this.