09 April, 2017
"And it's 11:45 p.m. on a Friday night what the hell?"
The person or group responsible were able to hack into a part of the system that communicated to all 156 city sirens, according to Dallas Office of Emergency Management head, Rocky Vaz.
"We can state at this time that the City's siren system was hacked Friday night", says a city spokesperson.
"We shut it down as quickly as we could", Vaz said, "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".
According to Dallas PIO director Sana Syed, there was no emergency or weather alert. Technicians are trying to determine how to bring the system back online without the risk of it being hacked again, he said.
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City officials asked residents not to call 911 during the malfunction and reported the longest wait time to get through to 911 was two minutes, the press release said.
Officials say fire dispatch crews had to manually shut off the sirens. Residents were told not to call 911 or 311 if the sirens were sounded again. "Right now, our priority is to work on reactivating our system".
As the sirens blared, frightened residents called emergency services and took to social media to voice concern and learn what had happened.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings promised the perpetrator would be found and prosecuted.
"This is yet another serious example of the need for us to upgrade and better safeguard our city's technology infrastructure".