Cyber Security

All 156 outdoor emergency sirens throughout the city of Dallas wailed for more than an hour last Friday night and early Saturday morning, the result of what officials said was a hack that forced the system offline and caused a flood of 9-1-1 calls.

The cyber breach revealed just how vulnerable cities’ information and communications technology is, especially when poor cybersecurity protocols are in place.


Dallas officials blame computer hacking for setting off emergency sirens throughout the city early Saturday. Rocky Vaz, director of Dallas' Office of Emergency Management, said all 156 of the city's sirens were activated more than a dozen times.

Cyber stalkers present serious threats to businesses, governmental entities and organizations of all types. The ever-present danger is said to be increasing at an alarming pace, and because the aftermath of any cyberattack is so devastating and costly, technology changes are occurring at a dizzying pace. In spite of that, most citizens do not believe that current cyber security efforts are adequate.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee on Tuesday held a hearing looking into ways to improve cybersecurity across the healthcare sector. In recent years, cybersecurity has been a growing concern in healthcare, with high profile cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities causing disruptions for insurers, hospitals and medical device makers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an incredibly diverse space, encompassing a large variety of hardware form factors and software ecosystems unlike anything we have seen in technology. Smartwatches, connected cameras, drones, thermostats, voice-enabled speakers, smart appliances and more-they all live together within the IoT.

Cyber intrusion is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It is a threat that horrifically frightens executives in both the public and private sectors.

A cybercrime, or hacking as most people call it, can result in the loss of government secrets, individual grief that comes from identity theft, company liability if confidential data is compromised, election tampering, unauthorized purchases and more. Cybercrimes are problematic for government, businesses, organizations and citizens throughout the world. Some cybercrimes pose a threat to national security.

At a StateScoop virtual roundtable, smart cities and cybersecurity experts from the private and public sector weigh in on how state and local governments are securing smart cities. As states and cities rush to get a grip on securing what could be 50 billion connected devices over the next few years, Illinois' top tech official said government needs to change its approach.

"Almost worse is if they change it and you don't know about it because it questions integrity," according to one Symantec cybersecurity expert. Cyberattacks against state and local governments are not only on the rise, they're increasingly targeting the cloud as jurisdictions migrate their data, said Symantec cybersecurity experts during a Wednesday webcast.

Smart city initiatives are big and complex projects, and municipalities are anxious to avoid making mistakes -- whether that means being tied to a proprietary platform or introducing vulnerabilities into expanding networks as they work to integrate legacy data with new smart systems. To increase their agility, cities will spend twice as much with vendors committed to open application programming interfaces and data sharing, a new report from IDC Government Insights says.

For all Muni Metro passengers knew, the free rides they were getting Friday night and Saturday were a holiday gift from the transit system. Little did they know Muni was under attack from a hacker trying to squeeze $73,000 in ransom to unlock the agency's computer systems.

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