Hacker sets off 156 emergency sirens across Dallas
Siren systems are meant to sound an alarm to residents of an incoming catastrophe such as a tornado but on Saturday night in Dallas, the sirens itself became a catastrophe when someone managed to hack into the system and keep them blaring for around 2 hours.
All 156 sirens in the city of Dallas that are meant to be used in case of events like a tornado were triggered at 11:42 p.m. CDT on Friday. The sirens finally stopped at 1:17 a.m. CDT on Saturday when engineers had to manually shut them off. As per reports, the city engineers first had to confirm that the sirens were not triggered by an actual event. Once they confirmed it was a hack, they shut it down, but apparently, the culprit kept hacking back into the system thus making the engineer’s work difficult.
” Everytime we thought we had turned them off the sirens would sound again, because whoever was hacking us , was continuously hacking us” said a spokesperson for the city Ms. Syed.
As expected, the sirens sent out a wave of concern over the resident with many people taking to social media & tweeting about it. Ms. Syed also specified the concern that the residents felt considering the recent air strikes in Syria, with some people dreading that the sirens meant a bomb threat to the city. The system is still down and is expected to be working again by Saturday afternoon. Mr. Rocky Vaz, the director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management said the sirens blared on a 90-second loop for 15 times before they were shut down. He also shared that they were reaching out to experts in the field for a solution to this.
“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 breach in the city of 1.6 million people was believed to have originated in the area, city spokeswoman Sana Syed said in an emailed statement. Vaz cited industry experts as saying the hack was among the largest ever to affect emergency sirens, with most breaches triggering one or two. “This is a very, very rare event,” he said.
The hack is being investigated by the system engineers & the Federal Communications Commission has been contacted. There are no reports of Police involvement as of this moment. The city has had a few recent struggles with its emergency systems recently. Therefore it is heartening to know that the city is taking action to ensure a repeat doesn’t occur.