New York power blackout; did Iran did performed a counter cyberattack?

Last Saturday night, a blackout in New York left the entire Manhattan area without electric power; interestingly, the incident occurred on the anniversary of the massive blackout that happened in 1977 that left the entire city without power, crippling traffic and all work, academic and domestic activities, network security specialists report.

Con Edison, one of the power provider companies in New York, mentioned that the incident, which occurred Saturday at 16:47, was caused by a transformer failure, although the full information will be known until the investigation is completed; the electricity service was restored in its entirety around midnight, local authorities mentioned.

In addition to the glare failures in the public lighting, the blackout caused the closure of four New York subway stations (Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, Hudson Yards and Fifth Avenue); according to network security experts, train operators had to manually operate some mechanisms to get passengers to the nearest station.

Due to the blackout, hundreds and hundreds of people had to light their way home with the lanterns of their smartphones, while in large residential buildings people had to use the stairs, as the elevators did not work. In some parts of Manhattan, such as the neighborhood known as Hells’ Kitchen, residents had to assist the police to direct traffic.

Although neither responsible authorities nor companies have determined the exact cause of the incident, rumours were not made to wait. According to network security specialists at the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), some believe there could be a link between this incident (and similar incidents) and the cyberwarfare that has begun between the U.S. government and Iran.

Recently, the Iranian authorities claimed to have dismantled a CIA-operated spy network that concluded with multiple arrests of international spies conducting intelligence tasks in the Middle East. In addition, it is known of the disruptive power of government-sponsored hacker groups as, on previous occasions, hacking campaigns have been reported targeting other governments’ power grids capable of massively disrupting energy supply using sophisticated malware variants. While there is still a long way to go for the investigations to conclude, experts should not rule out any possibility.