Not so silent night: Dallas emergency siren system hacked

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A city spokesperson says the sirens are going off due to a system malfunction and emergency crews are working to fix the problem.

The blaring sirens, used primarily to warn of tornadoes and other severe weather, prompted anxious residents to call 911, clogging up that system.

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The sirens sounded off from around 11:42 p.m. Friday night and were shut down at 1:17 a.m. Saturday morning, completing around 15 cycles of a 90-second emergency warning. Office of Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said his office had to eventually shut down the system. Vaz said city officials have asked the Federal Communications Commission for help in determining who was behind the hack.

Residents took to social media using #DallasSirens to express frustration, confusion and a little humor. "We will work to identify and prosecute".

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He also questioned whether the "delivery" would be effective under the new regime since adequate infrastructure is not in place. He said the GSTN has been designed in such a manner that it can not be audited by CAG and RTI too does not apply to it.

"It does appear at this time it was a hack, and it does appear this came from the Dallas area", she said.

In order to get the sirens to stop, the city had to disconnect the system, which had been triggered to activate the sirens over 60 times. They won't know the health of the sirens until the system is reactivated.

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Dallas spokeswoman Sana Syed said the 911 system was bombarded with over 4,400 calls between 11:30 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., double the number for a normal, eight-hour period overnight. Mayor Rawlings posted on his Facebook page about the need for a better security 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".

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