Brazilian blackout not caused by hackers

Two days ago, CBS covered the possibilities of cyber war, power grid failures and cyber bank robberies. A couple of massive power outages that took place in Brazil were mentioned and attributed by “intelligence sources” to hacker attacks.

Wired reports that there is no actual evidence to substantiate that claim, and that, in fact, the 2007 power blackout in the state of Espirito Santo occurred because of negligent maintenance of transmission lines by Furnas Centrais Elétricas, the utility company that maintains the power grid.

A few days after the blackout, the company stated that it was caused by deposits of dust and soot on a chain of insulators – due to burning fields and and eight month long drought in the region. Independent investigators and Brazil’s National Agency for Electric Energy later confirmed the initial report and fined the utility company.

Raphael Mandarino Jr., the director of the Homeland Security Information and Communication Directorate stated for a Brazilian newspaper that there is no evidence to indicate that a cyber attacker was responsible for the outage and that the systems controlling Brazil’s electric grid are not directly connected to the Internet.

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