Residents of two Texas towns were jolted awake around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday (March 12) morning by the sound of the emergency sirens blaring. There was no severe weather in the area, and concerned citizens flooded emergency lines to find out what was going on. They were told it was a malfunction and after 40 minutes officials finally turned the sirens off.
Later in the day, authorities announced that the issue was not caused by a malfunction. Instead, they said that a hacker managed to gain control of the system and turned the sirens on. As a result of the hack, they shut down the emergency sirens and advised residents to sign up for the CodeRed System which will send them automated alerts in the event of an actual emergency.
Investigators are looking to see if the incident was related to a similar hack on the emergency siren system in Dallas back in April 2017. In that attack, somebody managed to gain remote access to the system and activated most of the 156 sirens positioned throughout the city.
"Sabotage against a public warning system is more than vandalism," the city of Lancaster said in a statement. "It is a criminal act and those responsible are subject to arrest and prosecution."