On March 12th, at around 2:30 a.m., residents of two Texas towns panicked after hearing tornado alarm that went off until 4:00 a.m. They were disturbed because the alarms repeatedly went on and off for about one and a half hours, thanks to hackers – Finally, related authorities were able to turn them off.
See: Hackers Can Breach Burglar Alarm System with $142 Device
The alarms were raised particularly in and around the DeSoto and Lancaster areas, which have a high tendency of receiving tornadoes and the sirens have been built as a safety measure to warn people about the threat. Whenever the emergency tornado alarms go on, people are required to take necessary measures to protect themselves.
Reportedly, hackers breached the systems to raise false alarms and in total, they set off 30 alarms, out of which twenty were raised in Lancaster and the rest in DeSoto. Before this incident, there hasn’t been a single case of breaching of the town’s emergency alarm systems but this time around, the authorities claim, a group of hackers managed to breach it and trigger the alarms.
The case is currently under investigation by the police departments in the two targeted towns, and the cops have warned that the hackers will be arrested and prosecuted because targeting such a crucial system and sabotaging it is a criminal act.
I’m in DeSoto.
The (tornado?) sirens stopped but started right back.
Any insight? This is scary. @wfaaweather @Fox4Weather
We need answers please.
— Summer Galvez (@summer_galvez) March 12, 2019
🤦♀️why do we have a false tornado siren going off in Lancaster Tx? Smh Thanks Lancaster for waking us all up at 2:30 am.
— Deanna Laurence (@LaurenceDeanna) March 12, 2019
The compromised systems remained offline until Monday 17th March but the good news is that there isn’t any threat of a tornado in Texas town though just a night later after the false emergency alerts were raised, a thunderstorm did hit the town.
DeSoto officials have asked the residents to register for the Code Red emergency weather warning system and claim that the siren system will be restored soon. Lancaster officials have informed the residents that they can consult the city website, social media and the Code Red system for further information.
See: Vulnerable smart alarms allowed hackers to track & turn off car engine
This, however, is not the first town that the system running tornado emergency sirens in Dallas has been hacked. In April 2017, unknown hackers were able to hack every single tornado emergency siren in Dallas.
Ever wonder what the end of the world feels like? #dallas #sirens pic.twitter.com/dvokKWkZ6N
— Manic Pixie Dream Gay (@deadlyblonde) April 8, 2017
Moreover, in April 2018, a group of white hat hackers also demonstrated how easy it was for them to take over and control the emergency alarm system with a $35 radio suggesting that hacking such system is a piece of cake for hackers.
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