If there’s one system you would hope can’t be hacked it would be a national emergency siren network.
Yet that’s precisely what happened this weekend when a hacker was able to take control of Dallas’ 156 emergency sirens and turn them on for over an hour.
Designed as part of a national emergency siren network the sirens are used in times of national emergency whether that’s as a tornado siren, air raid warning or some other major incident.
Unsurprisingly then hearing them go off caused a not inconsiderable amount of confusion among its 1.6 million residents.
Quick to prevent any confusion or panic the FBI tweeted that the incident was a ‘malfunction’ and not indicative of any real emergency.
Speaking to Reuters and other journalists city Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said that this was a, “very, very rare event.”
He also confirmed that this was almost certainly the largest hack of its kind with previous breaches only activating one or two of the sirens.
Physical hacks are becoming more and more of a hot topic as the increased interest in smart homes has led to some experts being concerned about the security systems in place.
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Allen Scott, the head of strategic partnerships, digital home protection for security company F Secure explained to the Huffington Post UK last year that the new wave of ‘internet of things’ devices could leave people ‘under siege’ from criminals that “want to find an easy way to make cash.”
“What happens if your lighting in your house gets compromised?” asks Scott. “That may sound far fetched but that’s exactly what’s happening, people are taking data, encrypting it and then holding it to ransom.”
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