Tornadoes and Hackers

Earlier in March, tornado emergency sirens went off across a couple of cities in Texas in the middle of the night, waking people up and causing panic.

The problem was, there was no bad weather while the sirens were going off.

Officials who investigated the problem confirmed that the two separate emergency systems had been compromised by a hacker and set off intentionally. The hacked systems were taken offline as a result, despite the bad weather forecasted for the area.

Texas officials said in a statement, “Based on the widespread impact to the outdoor sirens located in two separate cities, including Lancaster, it has become evident that a person or persons with hostile intent deliberately targeted our combined outdoor warning siren network.”

The tragic part about this event was in April 2018, when a security firm published a paper warning that emergency alert systems across the country could be easily hacked citing several vulnerabilities they found. The firm went as far as demonstrating how $30 radios you could buy online were all that you needed to hack into these types of systems. While many cities were proactive and installed patches to their emergency systems, the two Texas towns affected by the attack did not.

The main difference from the two cities that got hacked, and the surrounding Dallas area that did not, was the surrounding area had a security plan in place to protect the system, and the residents that rely on that system. That plan made them aware of the warning by the security firm and gave them the ability to act to find the proper patches and install them, to lock their systems down.

What is your firm’s security plan?

Security is a critical part of every business and should be taken seriously. Every company should have security plan in place, and ways to verify that plan is effective. Installing security patches and having regular security testing should be a core part of your firm’s plan, along with educating your employees, planning on upgrading key pieces of equipment regularly, and reviewing other ways you may be vulnerable.

Sikich can help with your security plan! Contact us today to speak with a security expert about how we can help you develop a security plan or strengthen your current security plan.

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