If there’s one system you would hope can’t be hacked it would be a national emergency siren network.
Yet that’s precisely what happened this weekend when a hacker was able to take control of Dallas’ 156 emergency sirens and turn them on for over an hour.
Designed as part of a national emergency siren network the sirens are used in times of national emergency whether that’s as a tornado siren, air raid warning or some other major incident.
Unsurprisingly then hearing them go off caused a not inconsiderable amount of confusion among its 1.6 million residents.
Quick to prevent any confusion or panic the FBI tweeted that the incident was a ‘malfunction’ and not indicative of any real emergency.
Speaking to Reuters and other journalists city Emergency Management Director Rocky Vaz said that this was a, “very, very rare event.”
He also confirmed that this was almost certainly the largest hack of its kind with previous breaches only activating one or two of the sirens.
Physical hacks are becoming more and more of a hot topic as the increased interest in smart homes has led to some experts being concerned about the security systems in place.
Allen Scott, the head of strategic partnerships, digital home protection for security company F Secure explained to the Huffington Post UK last year that the new wave of ‘internet of things’ devices could leave people ‘under siege’ from criminals that “want to find an easy way to make cash.”
“What happens if your lighting in your house gets compromised?” asks Scott. “That may sound far fetched but that’s exactly what’s happening, people are taking data, encrypting it and then holding it to ransom.”
The Best Smartphones You Can Buy In 2017
Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
This is Apple’s best iPhone ever
, and if we’re honest it’s one of their most innovative devices yet. It has an incredible camera, is water-resistant and boasts a stunning bright new display. Of course it can’t escape the rumours surrounding next year’s device but if you’re looking to buy a smartphone right now, and Apple are on your radar, this is the phone for you.
The Huffington Post UK
This is Google’s iPhone. It’s that simple. As such there are achievements and compromises. If you’re after an incredibly well-built, powerful Android flagship, Google have given you a truly five-star smartphone. If you’re a photographer, the Pixel’s camera and cloud storage option make this a no brainer. It's not cheap though, with the XL costing over £800.
The Huffington Post UK
The OnePlus 3T is simply a continuation of the ethos that makes OnePlus phones so good. It’s exceptionally well-built, powerful and offers you everything you could want in an affordable and meaningful package. No smartphone will give you more value for money.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
With a new curved back and larger 5.5-inch display the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
is more about evolution than revolution. The S7 edge now sports a water-resistant body, embedded camera and a MicroSD card slot. The S7 edge is also Samsung's most powerful smartphone yet, so powerful in fact that Samsung have actually had to equip a tiny water-cooling system inside the phone. The good news though is that means you'll never have to worry about getting a warm hand.
The Huffington Post UK
Incredibly, Apple's familiar-looking iPhone SE
manages to boast the same performance as its top-of-the-range iPhone 6s making it the most powerful 4-inch smartphone available. If you're keen to return to the days of one-handed texting then Apple's bite-sized iPhone is the smartphone for you.
The LG G5
sets itself apart from rivals like the S7, Xperia XA and the iPhone 6s by being something utterly unique. The G5 is the first commercial 'modular' phone, allowing you to swap out the bottom for new accessories. So far there's an audio one made in partnership with Bang & Olufsen and a camera-focused attachment which gives you extra camera controls.
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The Huawei P9 is a smartphone designed for capturing life. Thanks to a partnership with photography legends Leica this dual-lens camera can take pictures that'll put your dedicated camera to shame. Of course it helps that the P9 is also a pretty great Android smartphone as well.
The Nexus 5X
strikes the ultimate balance between power and affordability. Taking over the responsibility from the frankly excellent Nexus 5, Google's new smartphone boast an ultra-light body but still crams in a fingerprint sensor, the latest version of Android marshmallow and a Full-HD display.