I’m one of those strange non-senior citizens who watches 60 Minutes on a regular basis (having a TiVo helps). So due to the controversy over a 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil that affected over 3 million people, I was expecting an update from 60 Minutes this week. They are sticking with their original story, still calling it “cyberwar”, and no mention that it might be due to poorly-maintained infrastructure, as WIRED and other sources say. My favorite part of the WIRED story is that the Brazilian government says their electric control systems aren’t connected to the internet.
Here’s the counter-story from Marcelo Soares at WIRED:
A massive 2007 electrical blackout in Brazil has been newly blamed on computer hackers, but was actually the result of a utility company’s negligent maintenance of high voltage insulators on two transmission lines. That’s according to reports from government regulators and others who investigated the incident for more than a year.
In a broadcast Sunday night, the CBS newsmagazine <i cited unnamed sources in making the extraordinary claim that a two-day outage in the Atlantic state of Espirito Santo was triggered by hackers targeting a utility company’s control systems. The blackout affected 3 million people. Hackers also caused another, smaller blackout north of Rio de Janeiro in January 2005, the network claimed.
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.
More on WIRED’s Threat Level
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