Dallas residents were jolted out of bed after a hacker triggered all the city’s emergency sirens, setting off a wave of panic and confusion.
Dallas residents were alerted by a false alarm late Friday evening and early Saturday after a hacker triggered all of the city’s 156 emergency disaster sirens.
The setting of the sirens with no known incident set off a wave of panic and confusion. Emergency dispatchers received around 4,400 calls between 11:40 and 3:00 a.m., according to Managing Director of Public Information Sanya Syed for the city of Dallas. The rush of inquiries to 9-1-1 caused a backlog, forcing some callers to wait as long as six minutes to speak with emergency 9-1-1 personnel.
All 156 emergency sirens were activated around 11:40 p.m. in what appeared to be a hacking incident that “woke up a lot of people,” according to Sana Syed said at a news conference on Saturday, April 8, 2017.
The Office of Emergency Management was able to turn off all the sirens by 1:20 a.m., according to Sana Syed. The hacker’s source location is believed to be somewhere in Dallas, Texas.
Even the FBI office in Dallas posted a tweet informing residents there was “no active emergency.”
— FBI Dallas (@FBIDallas) April 8, 2017
Citizen posted criticism of notifications about the malfunction, saying the City of Dallas and the local media were slow notify citizens regarding the problem.
Honestly can you all work on a better social media/media response to such a malfunction as people will not know whether to take shelter, panic, or clog up 911 trying to find out whats going on. Because you all took so long (roughly 30+ minutes to even get a message out) people might not listen the next time they go off in clear weather and it is an actual emergency.
— Thomas Salsini
It angers me because the people who do not have Facebook, especially the elderly, have no clue as to what’s happening. I can only imagine their fear right now. I’ve been flipping channels trying to find news about it too and nothing!
— Lisa Ramos Lopez
Rocky Vaz, director of the Dallas Office of Emergency Management, said authorities had to turn off the city’s entire emergency system to stop the sirens.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised a full investigation, tweeting the hack “was an attack on our emergency notification system. We will work to identify and prosecute.”
The Dallas emergency alarm system was expected to be back up and running by Sunday, said Vaz.
Tornado/Emergency Sirens HACKED – Going Off in Dallas, Texas | 12AM April 8, 2017
Sirens going off in Dallas “on 75 and royal ln.”
Dallas storm siren going off again | Suenan Sirenas en Dallas TX
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Last night’s hack was an attack on our emergency notification system. We will work to identify and prosecute… https://t.co/FbCG9cB9mR
— Mayor Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) April 8, 2017
Malfunction causes sirens to go off in Dallas: pic.twitter.com/amsbbxDeRx
— City of Dallas (@CityOfDallas) April 8, 2017
Theme Park Brews: “Twitter is blowing up in Dallas, Texas. Sirens! What’s with the tornado sirens. It’s perfect weather. Maybe Civil Defense Alarms?”