Feds charge man with planning to blow up an Amazon data center

Jon Fingas
·Associate Editor
·1 min read

Amazon's data centers are now potential targets for extremist attacks, according to law enforcement. As Variety reports, the FBI has arrested Texas resident Seth Aaron Pendley over a charge that he planned to blow up an Amazon Web Services data center in Virginia. Pendley allegedly revealed to an undercover agent that he planned to use plastic explosives to take down data centers in a bid to "kill" most of the internet and the federal institutions that he believed were part of the "oligarchy" in the US.

The Justice Department characterized Pendley as a domestic extremist. He claimed to have been present at the Capitol riot on January 6th, and the FBI first caught word of his plans soon afterward after a tipster warned of "alarming statements" he made on a pro-militia web forum. The accused man reportedly expected people to die in the attacks.

Pendley could serve up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Amazon said in a statement that it took data center security "incredibly seriously."

This comes while Parler is suing Amazon for dumping the social network from AWS, although it's not clear the two are related. 

The supposed plot highlights the internet's dependence on AWS and the possible consequences if an attack is successful. As many have discovered, problems at Amazon data centers can cause outages for a host of services, including tech giants like Adobe. Pendley's attack would have disrupted the internet for many people, not just federal agencies. This also suggests that physical security may be increasingly important for data centers now that terrorists see them as possible targets.