While worms, Trojans, and viruses are known threats to Internet service, a new beast is striking fear in the hearts of service providers: rats.

Last week the rodents reportedly shut down Internet service in Cochise County, Ariz.

The rats chewed through a Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) fiber optic line, disrupting service for six hours. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s cell towers in the area were also affected by members of the genus rattus.

No word on whether Qwest is deploying aggressive countermeasures to protect its network in the future, like snakes.

If so, The Philter knows where to find one. (See Ssssssssnake.)

—Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News

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