Hackers Set Off 156 Emergency Sirens in Dallas
Apr. 10, 2017
When I was a kid, firefighters would be signaled by a blaring siren that echoed throughout the small town of Boonton, New Jersey, much to the chagrin of parents who had just gotten babies to sleep. Over the weekend, residents of Dallas, Texas, had a similar experience—x156—thanks to hackers who compromised the city's siren network.
As the Dallas Morning News reports, all 156 of the city's sirens—which are used to notify people of emergency situations, like extreme weather—went off around midnight on Friday. They were finally silenced around 1:17 a.m. after the system was shut down; service was restored by late Saturday night.
"We can state at this time that the city's siren system was hacked Friday night," the Dallas Office of Emergency Management said in a Saturday afternoon statement. Citing "security reasons," the agency declined to discuss how the hack was carried out, "but we do believe that the hack came from the Dallas area."
The city said it has notified the FCC for assistance in identifying the source of the hack, and put in "safeguards" to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"Last night's hack was an attack on our emergency notification system. We will work to identify and prosecute those responsible," Mayor Mike Rawlings wrote in a Facebook post.
Rawlings argued that the incident "is yet another serious example of the need for us to upgrade and better safeguard our city's technology infrastructure. It's a costly proposition, which is why every dollar of taxpayer money must be spent with critical needs such as this in mind. Making the necessary improvements is imperative for the safety of our citizens."