Wichita Falls officials react to Dallas siren hack

Wichita Falls officials react to Dallas siren hack

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Dallas officials are still working to identify the hacker who set off 156 of the city's emergency sirens.

It happened in the middle of the night Friday.

It took nearly two hours to shut down the system.

People across the city began flooding 9-1-1 operators with thousands of calls.

City officials said they now know how it was done but most residents are demanding answers and wanting assurance that this won't happen again.

If it happened in Dallas, just how hard would it be to happen in Wichita Falls?

The city's 53 sirens have an encrypted system and turning them on is not as easy as just hitting a button.

What happened in Dallas Friday night is very rare, but Wichita Falls Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, John Henderson, said he cannot say with 100 percent certainty it would not happen here.

He said that based on how they were hacked, it had to happen from someone in the Dallas area.

His biggest fear is that if a hack were to occur in Wichita Falls, people might not listen to the siren if a tornado was coming.

"People hear the siren and then they don't believe that the city is watching out for their best interest and to protect the public," Henderson said. "And now if the sirens go off, you don't know if it is another hoax or if it is real."

Wichita Falls is looking into their system to make sure a hack does not happen.

The city has had issues with their sirens in the past, but just individual sirens, not all 53.

Depending on what comes out of the final report as to what exactly happened in Dallas, Henderson said that could bring changes to the way their system is run.

But he does feel confident in the system they have in place.

Henderson wants people to listen to the sirens and take them seriously.

He added they will only go off in Wichita Falls if a tornado is threatening the city or is in city limits.

Copyright 2017 KAUZ All Rights Reserved