Hacking blamed for blaring sirens in Texas

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DALLAS, TEXAS: A computer hack set off all the emergency sirens in Dallas for about 90 minutes in one of the largest known breaches of a siren warning system, officials in the southern US city said.

The 156 sirens in Dallas, normally used to warn of tornadoes and other dangerous weather, were triggered on Saturday morning (Singapore time).

The wailing did not end until engineers manually shut down the sirens' radio system and repeaters, city Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said.

"At this point, we can tell you with a good deal of confidence that this was somebody outside of our system that got in there and activated our sirens," he told reporters.

The breach in the city of 1.6 million people was believed to have originated in the area, city spokesman Sana Syed said in an e-mailed statement.

Mr Vaz cited industry experts as saying the hack was among the largest ever to affect emergency sirens, with most breaches triggering one or two.

"This is a very, very rare event," he said.

Engineers were working to restart the system and should have it restored soon, he said.

The hack is being investigated by system engineers and the Federal Communications Commission. - REUTERS