The city of Dallas is apologizing to residents for a hack attack that set off 156 of the city’s emergency sirens late on Friday night, jolting folks awake and scaring the bejeezus out of people.
According to the city, the sirens started going off around 11:42 p.m. on Friday night, as the result of a hack attack. Though officials can’t discuss the details of how hackers managed to pull it off, officials do believe that the hack originated from somewhere in the Dallas area.
“We have notified the FCC for assistance in identifying the source of this hack,” a spokeswoman for the city said in a statement. “We are putting in safeguards to ensure this type of hack does not happen again.”
Meanwhile, Dallas residents had to sit through an hour and 40 minutes of alarms, with the sirens blasting for 90 seconds at a time about 15 times, the director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, told reporters at a news conference reported by The New York Times.
The sirens are meant to alert the public to severe weather like tornadoes, or other emergencies, so having them all go off at once was, well, unsettling, prompting a flood of calls to 9-1-1 from confused and scared people.
“I can understand the concern,” the spokeswoman told the Times, noting the recent airstrikes in Syria.
On Saturday, Mayor Mike Rawlings called the breach “an attack on our emergency notification system.”
“This is yet another serious example of the need for us to upgrade and better safeguard our city’s technology infrastructure,” he wrote on Facebook. “It’s a costly proposition, which is why every dollar of taxpayer money must be spent with critical needs such as this in mind. Making the necessary improvements is imperative for the safety of our citizens.”