Level 3 falls victim to data centre robbery

Update: Thieves caused widespread service outages after stealing core router cards from a London hosting centre
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

Global telecoms carrier Level 3 has fallen victim to a robbery at its London data centre.

A number of router cards were stolen in the robbery, which took place on Wednesday, and which severely disrupted voice and data services to businesses in the capital.

The theft is the latest in a line of break-ins affecting communications companies. Last weekend a BT exchange in Birmingham was broken into, causing 35,000 lines to be cut off. And just 10 days earlier, thieves walked into fellow carrier Easynet's London data centre, and drove off with a van full of equipment.

Easynet's data centre is located just yards from Level 3, which is at Braham Street, near Aldgate East tube station.

Level 3 sent an email to some of its customers following the robbery. It said, "There was a security breach in our Braham Street gateway early this morning. A number of service-affecting cards were removed without authority from live equipment. This has resulted in the loss of IP and voice services to a number of customers at Braham Street."

Level 3 has two data centres in London, the other around a mile away in Goswell Road.

The link between the two was severed by the robbery, and many businesses lost connectivity thoroughly.

According to one report, the thieves at Easynet used staff swipe cards to enter its Brick Lane data centre. Easynet, though, has insisted that a forced break-in took place and that the thieves did not use swipe cards to gain entry.

IT professionals contacted by ZDNet UK questioned the security levels at the major London data centres, saying the identity of visitors is often not checked.

Level 3 refused to comment on the break-in.

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