Brazilian Govt: Soot, not hackers, caused '07 blackouts
The Brazilian government is refuting a report aired on Sunday by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, which stated that power blackouts in the South American nation in 2005 and 2007 were caused by hackers. Meanwhile, a large swath of Central Brazil is still reeling from another massive blackout that occurred in the region Tuesday evening.
Citing six unnamed sources in the intelligence, military and cybersecurity communities, 60 Minutes claimed that a two-day outage that affected 3 million people in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo was caused by hackers hitting a utility company's control systems. Another, smaller outage in January 2005 also was caused by hackers, the report said.
According to the Wired.com Threat Level blog, the utility company involved, Furnas Centrais Elétricas, said it "has no knowledge of hackers acting in Furnas' power transmission system."
"Brazilian government officials disputed the report over the weekend, and Raphael Mandarino Jr., director of the Homeland Security Information and Communication Directorate, told the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo that he's investigated the claims and found no evidence of hacker attacks, adding that Brazil's electric control systems are not directly connected to the internet.
The earliest explanation for the blackout came from Furnas two days after the Sept. 26, 2007, incident began. The company announced that the outage was caused by deposits of dust and soot from burning fields in the Campos region of Espirito Santo. "The concentration of these residues would have been exacerbated by the lack of rain in the region for eight months," the company said.
In a development that is sure to encourage even more speculation on the matter, Brazil suffered another massive blackout on Tuesday evening that plunged much of central Brazil into darkness for several hours. The incident is being blamed on a failure at a major hydroelectric dam in the region. CNN reports that neighboring Paraguay and Uruguay also reported related blackouts.
"Rio's main streets and avenues were in a total blackout. Video footage showed long lines of cars at a near standstill on the roads, and the subway system in Rio came to a stop," CNN said.
Internet infrastructure monitoring company Renesys Corp. notes that Tuesday's blackout also caused serious instability or unreachability in large portions of Brazil's telecommunications infrastructure.
November 11, 2009; 12:35 PM ET
Categories: From the Bunker | Tags: brazil blackout
Save & Share: Previous: A year later: A look back at McColo
Next: Nastygram: Beware the NACHA gotcha
Posted by: boboran | November 12, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jsedlisboa | November 12, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: db16 | November 14, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.