Undue Credit to Hackers

After 60 Minutes and the CBS news magazine reported earlier this week that Brazil’s two-day blackout in 2007 was the work of hackers, Brazilian government officials have disputed the report.

In an article on www.wired.com, Marcelo Soares says government regulators and others who investigated the incident for more than a year concluded that the blackout was caused by a utility company’s failure to maintain high voltage insulators on two transmission lines.

Reports from the company say deposits of dust and soot from nearby burning fields caused the outage and “would have been exacerbated by the lack of rain in the region for eight months.”

Raphael Mandarino Jr., director of Brazil’s Homeland Security Information and Communication Directorate, said he found no evidence of hacker attacks and that Brazil’s electric control systems are not directly connected to the Internet. Nor did the utility company in question, Furnas Centrais Elétricas, have any knowledge of hackers attacking its power transmission system, according to a company spokesperson.

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