City Council to take security action after siren hack

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City Manager T.C. Broadnax on Monday briefed City Council members on the response to the tornado-siren hack this past weekend.

Broadnax said his office is looking at all of the city’s critical systems, including water, radio, 911 and 311 systems, police and fire dispatch, flood-warning systems and financial systems.

Council’s public safety committee, which met today, wasn’t permitted to ask questions or have discussion about Broadnax’s briefing because it wasn’t an official agenda item. Councilman Philip Kingston requested to take the committee into off-the-record executive session so that Broadnax could provide more details, but a city attorney advised that would be against open meeting laws.

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Broadnax said the full City Council we be updated in executive session Wednesday, and they likely will be asked to take action on a security-related request.

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All 156 of the city’s tornado sirens went off intermittently for more than an hour, starting around 11:45 p.m. Friday. Calls to 911 resulted in a backlog of calls and a 6-minute wait time overnight. The city confirmed Saturday that the system had been hacked. Mayor Mike Rawlings said the city would “find and prosecute whomever is responsible.”

The Dallas Police Department is taking the lead on the investigation with assistance from the FBI.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Broadnax says. “We’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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