On Thursday there was yet another burglary in a UK datacenter. Another? Yes, quite a pattern here it seems – 5 in the past 20 months, at least one of which was quite elaborate and made off with over $4M in equipment. When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton replied famously ‘Because that’s where the money is’. If you caught one of these guys who are walking off with routers, servers, line cards, or whatever, and you asked him the same question, what would he say? It *seems* like this sort of equipment would be much more easily traced than money or jewelry or watches or any of the usual things people steal. Don’t these things have serial numbers? And besides, how many places can you find to sell a hot high end router? Yes there are some, but the equipment is not as generic as, say, a TV or a digital camera. Then there’s the fact that it’s bulky and heavy, you can’t stuff it in a handbag and walk away unnoticed – you have to load it onto a cart etc.
I suppose the attraction is simply that many datacenters (not all of course!) don’t really take security that seriously. They may appear to, they may have elaborate security arrangements in place, but they don’t really expect robbery in the way a bank does. I haven’t heard of this trend getting started in the US in a big way yet, but it may only be a matter of time.
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