Council Member Frustrated With Response To Warning Sirens Hack

UPDATED | April 10, 2017 11:41 AM

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With the threat of severe weather across North Texas many are wondering if the outdoor warning sirens in Dallas will be ready. After the system was hacked Friday night some city officials are pushing for answers as to what happened and assurances that another warning system meltdown won’t happen.

The sirens are back online today after a series of tests over the weekend.

Out of concerns for safety, Dallas’ Office of Emergency Management is keeping tight lipped about how someone managed to hack the siren system.

City council member Philip Kingston said the problem is troubling and had even asked that the topic of city sirens be put on the public safety committee agenda today, so the council could be briefed. But he said it doesn’t appear that will happen.

It was late Friday night when all 156 of the city’s sirens whaled for nearly two hours, as emergency officials worked to shut down the system.

Kingston had asked the City Attorney to use an exception to the Open Meeting Act — so they could declare the public safety meeting an emergency. “What I’ve heard is that the City Manager is proposing to brief us on Wednesday. So, he’s gonna wait 48 and then declare an emergency,” Kingston said before expressing his frustration over the decision. “To me, that gives me cognitive dissonance. I’m not understanding why an emergency isn’t an emergency Monday but it is on Wednesday. I would like to be briefed today.”

Over the weekend Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said issued a statement saying the city will work to identify and prosecute those responsible and added that the hack is “…yet another serious example of the need for us to upgrade and better safeguard our city’s technology infrastructure. It’s a costly proposition, which is why every dollar of taxpayer money must be spent with critical needs such as this in mind.”

Dallas officials are still working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to figure out who was behind last weeks hack. OEM Director Rocky Vaz said, “We know how they did it, so we can stop it from happening again. Will we know who did it? I don’t know.”

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