Dallas hack sets of 156 warning sirens for 90 minutes

Some computer hacking incidents are frightening, like those that play with your personal information. Some seem like playful, but still illegal, antics of children. Then there are those in the middle, bordering on being a nuisance, but with potentially disastrous results. Such was the situation the residents of Dallas found themselves in when, in the dead of night, the city's 156 emergency sirens blared loudly for 90 minutes, causing not just a ruckus but a growing distrust of the warning system.

The City of Dallas has 156 sirens located in strategic locations around the area. These are used to alert people to rush indoors or even underground in case of severe weather disturbances, like tornadoes. Although not meant to be heard indoors, hearing them in the middle of the night is bound to cause some distress. Especially if there's no evident cause for the alarm in the first place.

According to Dallas authorities, the siren warning system was hacked and caused all 156 sirens to go off. The incident is both frightening yet, to some extent, impressive. It is an unprecedented event where all 156 sirens were affected. Past hacks were only able to affect one or two. Although the police have not yet been involved, the Federal Communications Commission is keeping an eye on the matter.

More than just being a nuisance, however, the incident has sparked some level of doubt among citizens. While the systems are being repaired, patched, and hardened, Dallas has switched to traditional warning systems like local media, phone calls, and federal radio alert. And residents may very well stop believing those alarms altogether, considering it has proven yet again to be a bit untrustworthy.

SOURCE: Reuters