Following concerns of emergency siren system exploitation—illustrated by a weather siren hack in Dallas, TX, in 2017—Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management contracted with American Signal Corporation (ASC), a 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Award Winner, to retrofit the county’s 57-siren outdoor warning system with protection against activation tampering.
(A search is underway for a hacker who caused panic and confusion in Dallas by triggering all of the city’s emergency sirens, intended to warn people of incoming severe weather. Courtesy of CBS This Morning and YouTube. Posted on Apr 10, 2017)
ASC has successfully installed its Encryption Communication Cards (ECCs) in all of the county’s sirens, preventing any exploitation of the siren by unauthorized operators.
The encryption cards ensure only recognized activation commands from a designated controller are able to trigger the sirens, which are encrypted when issued and decrypted by the siren when received.
ASC created its ECC product as a direct response to hacking exploits uncovered last year.
ECCs retrofit into Milwaukee County’s legacy siren network have saved the county tremendous cost.
The entire upgrade, including ECCs for all 57 sirens, totaled under $50,000—a nominal cost to taxpayers considering the expense of false alarms, hacking or replacement of the entire legacy system.
“An upgrade like this has an extremely high return on investment, both in real costs and potential savings,” said Richard Roe, Executive Vice President at American Signal Corporation.
“Milwaukee County OEM has taken the necessary steps to protect its emergency alert system from malicious agents and in doing so, has helped maintain the integrity of its legacy siren system.”
“It’s an investment that will pay dividends long into the future.”
Not just for legacy siren upgrades, ASC’s ECCs can also be used in sirens connected to the company’s CompuLert™ NEXGen command and control platform.
Through the system, emergency managers have the power to isolate and test sirens, while monitoring siren status in the event of an activation.
ECCs are an instrumental player in the ASC ecosystem, representing the company’s dedicated approach to hardware integrity in the digital age of software hacking.
American Signal Corporation (ASC) Wins Platinum in the 2017 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program
- Platinum ‘ASTORS’ Award Winner
- CompuLert NEXGen Central Control Platform
- Best Disaster Preparedness, Recovery Solution
Over 100 distinguished guests from National, State and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Executives from companies allied to Government, gathered from across North America and the Middle East to be honored from disciplines across the Security Industry in their respective fields which included representatives from:
- Recognized for their Innovative Training and Education Programs, Outstanding Product Development Achievements and Exciting New Technologies to address the growing Homeland Security Threats our Nation is facing.The Department of Homeland Security
- The Department of Justice
- The Security Exchange Commission
- State and Municipal Law Enforcement Agencies
- Leaders in Private Security