A senior government official on Friday did not exclude that this week’s massive electricity outages in Armenia were caused by a hacker attack.
“All theories are examined,” Hakob Vartanian, a deputy minister for local government and infrastructures overseeing the Armenian energy sector, told reporters when asked about such a possibility.
Vartanian leads a task force formed by his ministry to investigate an accident which left much of Armenia without electricity for several hours on Wednesday. He said it is now looking into detailed electricity supply data from two thermal power plants that were automatically brought to a halt for still unclear reasons.
“The analysis will show where the accident started from,” said Vartanian. “The causes of the accident will be analyzed then.”
The National Security Service (NSS) has launched a separate inquiry into what was the most serious power emergency in Armenia since 2013.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Thursday that the authorities currently have two main theories of the power outages and both of them have to do with “external” factors. At least one of them presumably relates to electricity supplies from neighboring Iran.
Vartanian stood by his earlier statement that a “technological problem” at one of the Armenian power plants might have also caused the disruption. “Numerous data are being clarified now,” he said.
The official also insisted that the Armenian power grid is equipped with the world’s most advanced computer system designed to guard against cyber attacks. But he also said: “We have seen many cases in the world where even the most reliable things can be breached because they were created by humans and humans can disrupt them.”