;

Spotlight on: Campus Safety Conference


The Campus Safety Conference is a 2-day intense conference for administrators and public safety officials, security and law enforcement executives from all over the country looking for solutions to campus safety, security, emergency management and technology challenges.
Close

Lack of Encryption Causes Dallas Emergency Siren Hack

The city’s sirens were hacked through radio frequencies, not a computer network.

Dallas city officials confirmed on Monday that a lack of encryption of the signal transmitted to 156 warning sirens led to the hack that kept Dallas residents awake late Friday and early Saturday.

City spokesperson Sana Syed told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV that city personnel had not set the system to use an encrypted signal before the sirens were activated. The sirens triggered intermittent false alarms for about an hour and a half until officials deactivated the system early Saturday morning.

RELATED: Your Emergency Notification Cheat Sheet

All of the 156 sirens Dallas uses to alert residents to take shelter from inclement weather went off starting at 11:42 p.m. Friday. City officials first attributed the incident a “system malfunction.”

The sirens went through about 15 cycles of a 90-second siren activation, Rocky Vaz, who heads the city’s Office of Emergency Management, said at a news conference.

“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.

Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax told reporters Monday the hack was accessed through the use of radio frequencies, and not remotely through computer software.

“The issue was with how we transmitted our information, and we’ve worked to close those gaps,” Broadnax said. “The issue was with how we transmitted our information and we’ve worked to close those gaps.”

On Monday, the Dallas office of emergency management said in a YouTube video that the system was fully operational.

This article originally ran in CS’ sister publication, Security Sales & Integration.

Add Another Layer of Protection to your Campus

If you’re responsible for protecting a campus — whether at a hospital, K-12 school, college or university — then Campus Safety magazine is a must-read, and it’s free! As the only publication devoted to those public safety, security and emergency management personnel, issues cover all aspects of safety measures, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification, and security staff practices.

Take advantage of a free subscription to Campus Safety today, and add its practical insights, product updates and know-how to your toolkit. Subscribe today!




Get Our Newsletters

Campus Safety Heroes

Campus Safety Heroes

Campus Safety honors those who keep their hospital, school or university campus safer.

See our latest Heroes, nominees and content.