Texas major city Dallas went under huge panic after a group of hackers triggered 156 sirens installed throughout the city during late at night on Friday. The hackers managed to breach security and took control of emergency alarms that were set off at 11:40 pm on April 7, 2017.
The alarms that continually blared for more than ninety minutes, not only caused the people to undergo major panic, but it put a humongous strain on Dallas’ 911 Call System that night. With the city already expecting thunderstorms in a matter of days, the incident further added to locals’ terror that night that resulted in flooding the 911 with numerous calls.
According to a city spokesperson, “911 received more than 4,400 calls between 11:30 PM and 3 AM Friday night, twice the average number made between 11 PM and 7 AM”. Sana Syed, a resident of Dallas said that most of the people took the sirens for warning of bombings, suicide attacks, or missile attacks from the Middle Eastern country as a response to the recent U.S. airstrikes in Syria.
However the city officials have investigated the incident and they have confirmed it was purely a case of hacking, and nothing more. The Director of Dallas Emergency Management Rocky Vaz said: “the reason why alarms continued to ring for more than an hour was because it wasn’t easy to silence the sirens instantly, and before the staff could turn off the whole system, it was important to double-check whether or not there really was an emergency”.
The Dallas City Mayor Mike Rawlings took things to the Facebook and stated, “Last night’s hack was an attack on our emergency notification system. We will work to identify and prosecute those responsible”.
The incident though did not cause grave consequences yet it is an indication of the fact that network security systems were breached and compromised, and it rendered one of the sensitive and crucial cyber systems in the hands of instigators, capable of perpetuating terror and chaos.
So far the hackers seem to be successful in attaining their aim by breaching into the security systems and terrorizing the locals, and it has left a big question mark on the levels of security the smart systems of major cities are equipped with. There is once again a dire need for fortifying cyber security and upgrading the technology infrastructure of the city.