A few weeks ago we published an article titled “Wikileaks, 9-1-1, and You” detailing the potential emergency management implications of the WikiLeaks hack of the CIA’s cybersecurity arsenal. We addressed the concern about community notification systems being vulnerable to hackers and the need to start thinking about a plan to secure the systems.
And while it is way too early to determine if the two are connected, it looks like the City of Dallas, TX Emergency Siren system was hacked which activated all of their outdoor warning sirens overnight on April 7/8. While it is an embarrassing event for any organization, there were real consequences for the community as well. The 911 center was flooded with calls extending wait times for 911 calls to an average of 6 minutes and severely diminished the communities confidence in the siren system.
Regardless of the root cause, communities need to ensure their notification systems are protected from sophisticated hackers and have a crisis communications plan in place for when (not if) a system malfunctions or a malicious hack occurs.
The time is now to work with your information technology team to ensure your systems are secured, and to plan for the inevitable system issue which requires a quick and clear crisis communications plan.
Crisis Focus, LLC has focused expertise in crisis communications and emergency management. Please visit Crisis Focus’ contact us page for more information.