Friday, 18 August, 2017

Not so silent night: Dallas emergency siren system hacked

Not so silent night: Dallas emergency siren system hacked Not so silent night: Dallas emergency siren system hacked
Warren Dawson | 09 April, 2017, 04:57

City officials are working with the Federal Communications Commission to figure out how the hack happened, said Rocky Vaz, the city's emergency management director, during a news conference Saturday afternoon.

The City of Dallas confirmed an apparent hacking triggered emergency sirens to sound across the Dallas area Friday night into early Saturday morning. The initial incident prompted a wave of calls to 911 by residents anxious there was some sort of threat. There are 156 outdoor warning sirens in the city of Dallas, WFAA reported, but it was unclear how many of them malfunctioned.

"We shut it down as quickly as we could", Vaz said, "taking into consideration all of the precautions and protocols we had to take to make sure that we were not compromising our 156 siren system".

City leaders said they did not know how the hacker gained entry, but said they are investigating the matter.

The OEM successfully deactivated the siren system at around 1:20 a.m. Saturday while trying to determine what caused them to trigger.

Tornado sirens sounding in Dallas.

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The sirens began sounding at 11:42 p.m. Friday.

"At this point, we can tell you with a good deal of confidence that this was somebody outside of our system that got in there and activated our sirens", he told reporters. The system is still down and the city is relying on other mass notification systems including reverse 911 and social media for emergencies.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised the perpetrator would be found and prosecuted.

City officials said a system malfunction was causing the sirens to go off which started just before midnight.

"This is yet another serious example of the need for us to upgrade and better safeguard our city's technology infrastructure", he posted on Facebook.

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