Not so silent night: Dallas emergency siren system hacked

A Google Trends feature revealed that the peak time people were searching online for information on why the sirens were blaring was at 11:48 p.m.

The city was forced to manually shut down the siren system, which is typically only used during weather emergencies such as a tornado threat.

The sirens were activated at 11:42 p.m. Friday night.

"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". "For security reasons, we can not discuss the details of how this was done, but we do believe that the hack came from the Dallas area".

The city has asked for assistance from the Federal Communications Commission in determining who was behind the hack.

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When city officials finally attempted to calm the nerves those wondering what the hell was going on they said the system malfunctioned. "We had no malfunction".

"If you ever wanted to know how jittery an entire community is about national security, just search "dallas sirens", one Dallas resident wrote on Twitter". The system is still down and the city is relying on other mass notification systems including reverse 911 and social media for emergencies.

But the sirens weren't signaling the end of the world (or end of Dallas), and they were not malfunctioning, as early reports indicated.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised the perpetrator would be found and prosecuted. The initial incident prompted a wave of calls to 911 by residents anxious there was some sort of threat. "Making the necessary improvements is imperative for the safety of our citizens".

  • Megan Austin