Hackers Can Hijack Emergency Alert Sirens

Radio amateur Balint Seeber VK2FUNK has discovered a way to hack into the Emergency Alert Systems in cities such as San Francisco using a $35 VHF/UHF handheld FM transceiver

The vulnerability, dubbed SirenJack, is in emergency alert systems manufactured by Acoustic Technology Inc., aka ATI Systems.

It was discovered by Balint Seeber, a researcher at security firm Bastille, after he determined that the RF signals used in San Francisco’s emergency alert system were not encrypted; the activation commands were sent “in the clear.”

ATI emergency alert systems are used in cities such as San Francisco and Wichita, Kansas, as well as “other large urban and rural communities, military installations, universities, and industrial sites including oil and nuclear power generation plants, potentially affecting millions of people.”

Featured customers on the company’s website include One World Trade Center, Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power station, UMass Amherst, and the West Point Military Academy.
— Balint Seeber VK2FUNK