London – In one of the largest known breaches of a siren warning system, a computer hacker set off all the emergency sirens in Dallas for about 90 minutes.
According to Reuters, Dallas’ 156 sirens, normally used to warn of tornadoes and other dangerous weather, were triggered at 11:42 p.m. CDT.
City Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said the siren blaring did not end until 1:17 a.m. CDT on Saturday when engineers manually shut down the sirens’ radio system.
Speaking to reporters, he stated: “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.”
Vaz cited industry experts as saying the hack was among the biggest that ever affected emergency sirens, with most breaches triggering only one or two.
“This is a very, very rare event,” he said.
He added that engineers are working on restarting the system and should have it restored by Sunday. Until the sirens are running, Dallas will rely on local media, emergency 911 phone calls and a federal radio alert system, he noted.
The hack is being investigated by system engineers and the Federal Communications Commission has been contacted, but police have not been involved, Vaz added.