An unidentified person in Dallas has set off all the 156 city Emergency outdoor sirens late Friday and early Saturday around 11:40 p.m. creating panic among the people. The sirens were sporadically sounded on and off as the hacker sent repeat signals for each siren 60 times, with 15 cycles each of 90 seconds activation. Dallas City Fire and Rescue department had manually turned all the Alarms off by going to the sites. All the emergency alarms were set off by 1:20 a.m. by the Dallas Emergency Department. According to local media, 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.

“We shut it down as quickly as we could, taking into consideration all of the precautions and protocols we had to take to make sure that we were not compromising our 156-siren system,” he said.

Panic among people

As the alarms, which are used to alert people to shelter indoors during severe weather started ringing, there were a large number of calls on the emergency system from 11:40 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. in the morning congesting the lines. The Emergency dispatchers received around 4,400 calls during those 3 hours, which was double the number received on a normal night and the wait time was even 6 minutes for some callers. When the alarms went off the frightened residents of Dallas turned to social media to learn what has happened posting various tweets.

According to New York Times City spokeswoman, Sana Syed said investigators believe the hack came from the Dallas area.

According to CNN news, one resident of Dallas posted “If you ever wanted to know how jittery an entire community is about national security, just search “Dallas sirens,”. The citizens were asked by the Emergency Department to remain calm as there was a risk of the emergency alarm to get reactivated again.

Emergency system put to questions

It was one of the largest security breaches in a public system. Engineers are investigating the hack. The Emergency Department has asked the Federal Communications Commission to find out the hacker according to city officials. The police has not been involved into the investigation yet. The emergency system came to normal again on Monday, but this hack has raised questions on the emergency systems, whether these alarm systems are reliable in case of tornadoes and other emergency conditions and whether they are trustworthy.

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