Cyber Attack Not Ruled-out For 5-Nation Power Outage
Paraguay, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina are having country-wide power outages since June 16, 2019, 7:07 am Argentina time. Labeled by Argentinian authorities as a failure of the power grids that trips one after another, which grew to be 5-country large. Argentinian President, Mauricio Marci went to Twitter to issue a statement that the cause is still unknown.“This morning, a fault in the coastal transmission system caused a power outage in the entire country, whose cause we cannot yet determine precisely. This is an unprecedented case that will be thoroughly investigated,” explained Marci.
His energy secretary, Gustavo Lopetegui made a short but curious comment regarding the incident. “This is an extraordinary event that should never have happened. It’s very serious. We can’t leave the country without power from one moment to another. At this moment we do not rule out any possibilities but … a cyberattack is not within the preliminary alternatives being considered,” said Lopetegui. As of this writing, Edenor, and Edesur, the two top electricity providers in Argentina are hard at work to fully restore power for the whole country. A huge chunk of the power comes from Yacyretá Dam, bordering with Paraguay, the dam generates the majority of the power requirements of Argentina.
“A massive failure in the electrical interconnection system left all of Argentina and Uruguay without power. This is the first time something like this has happened across the entire country,” emphasized Alejandra Martinez, Edesur’s spokeswoman.
University of Buenos Aires Professor, Raul Bertero claimed that the power grid has design and systemic operation errors, which made the power outage more severe than expected. “A localized failure like the one that occurred should be isolated by the same system. The problem is known and there is technology and studies that [work to] avoid it,” said Bertero.
“It is important to clarify that this total disconnection happens automatically. It’s the computers that run the system that does it when they detect imbalances that could cause major harm, and in milliseconds the system disconnects in order to protect itself. There was no alert here. There was no possibility for an alert here because it’s something that a human can’t detect. There is no human intervention,” added Lopetegui.
Argentina’s power grid is linked with Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and a portion of Brazil, all of them experience power outages all at the same time. Edesur denied that Paraguay and Uruguay experienced country-wide power outages, but only a small percentage of its population without electricity. The heavily affected areas of the outage are Mendoza, Cordoba, La Rioja, Chubut, San Luis, Formosa and Santa Fe in Argentina. Paraguay reported that part of its Villalbin, Ayolas, Misiones, Neembucu and Pilar provinces had experienced the outage as well.
“Everything came to a halt. Elevators, water pumps, everything. We have left adrift. There are some elderly people on the eighth floor but nothing happened, because the power cut was short. If it had gone on for longer it would have been a whole different story,” told Juan Borges, one of the residents in Buenos Aires.
Julia Sowells960 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.