Could Venezuela’s Power Outage Really Be A Cyber Attack?


As Venezuela endured one of its worst blackouts in recent memory this week, the government repeatedly claimed the widespread outage of power, phone and internet was due to a foreign cyberattack attempting to unseat its president. While the reality is that Venezuela’s blackout was most likely due to chronic underfunding of its electrical infrastructure and deferred maintenance, the idea of a foreign nation state manipulating an adversary’s power grid to force a governmental transition is very real.

In 2015 I explored the concept of “cyber first strike” in which governments would increasingly turn to cyberwarfare either on its own or as part of hybrid warfare to weaken an adversary prior to conventional invasion or to forcibly and deniably effect a transition in a foreign government.

Interrupting power and water supplies, disrupting traffic patterns, slowing or interfering with internet access, causing smart homes to go haywire and even remotely triggering meltdowns at nuclear power plants were all topics increasingly being discussed in the national security community at the time as legitimate and legal tactics to undermine a foreign state.

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Source: Forbes