How Hawaii Could Have Sent a False Nuclear Alarm

WIRED | 1/13/2018 | Issie Lapowsky
cyanbyte (Posted by) Level 3
Click For Photo: https://media.wired.com/photos/5a5a7af3b55d5f798f8284d2/191:100/pass/hawaiialert.jpg










As the citizens of Hawaii came out of hiding in their bathtubs and basements Saturday morning, after learning that the emergency alert they had received, warning of an imminent nuclear missile attack, was a false alarm, their fear and panic transformed into rage.

"I'm extremely angry right now. People should lose their jobs if this was an error," Hawaii State Representative Matt Lopresti told CNN.

Hawaii - Senator - Brian - Schatz - Twitter

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz confirmed on Twitter that the alert, which said that a ballistic missile was inbound to Hawaii and urged people to seek shelter, was sent due to "human error." The initial alert went out at 8:07 am, but it wasn't until 8:43 am that the state sent a second alert, announcing it was a false alarm. Governor David Ige told CNN, "An employee pushed the wrong button."

Could it really be that the emergency alert system is so simplistic, it only takes the twitch of a finger to send Hawaii into terror and chaos?

Retired - Admiral - David - Simpson - Chief

It's possible, says Retired Admiral David Simpson, former chief of the Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, who has been advocating for an improved emergency alert system for years.

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS, manages both the emergency alerts you get on your phone and the national emergency alert system, which broadcasts to television stations. According to Simpson, the system uses a web interface with multiple servers that cache preloaded messages about different types of emergencies, from states across the country.

PC - Interface - Person - Mouse - Menu

"It's a regular PC interface. This person probably had a mouse and a dropdown menu of the kind of alert messages you can send," and selected the wrong one, Simpson says.

In a statement to WIRED, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which operates IPAWS, said it is working with local authorities and the FCC to gather "more...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
0 other people are viewing this story
Wake Up To Breaking News!
Tagged:
Sign In or Register to comment.