Startled Awake Near Midnight By Sirens, Dallas Deals With A 'System Malfunction'

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A computer hack set off all the emergency sirens in Dallas for about 90 minutes overnight in one of the largest known breaches of a siren warning system, officials in the Texas city said on Saturday. The initial incident prompted a wave of calls to 911 by residents anxious there was some sort of threat. Earlier, the city reported the system had malfunctioned.

The blaring sirens, used primarily to warn of tornadoes and other severe weather, prompted anxious residents to call 911, clogging up that system. Technicians are trying to determine how to bring the system back online without the risk of it being hacked again, he said.

On Saturday, city spokeswoman Sana Syed, said that investigators believe the hack came from the Dallas area.

The city has asked for assistance from the Federal Communications Commission in determining who was behind the hack.

The city says fire crews are manually shutting down the sirens and a complete shutdown could take up to three hours.

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When it finally happens, the end of the world will likely begin like this: with wailing sirens tearing through the night sky sending chills down your spine as you contemplate if you've lived a good and meaningful life.

But the sirens weren't signaling the end of the world (or end of Dallas), and they were not malfunctioning, as early reports indicated.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings described the incident as "an attack on our emergency notification system".

City officials said a system malfunction was causing the sirens to go off which started just before midnight. "Making the necessary improvements is imperative for the safety of our citizens".