Tuesday , 25 September 2018
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Photo of Hawaii control centre has password in plain sight, stuck to monitor

A PHOTO taken inside the same emergency control room that sparked mass panic last weekend shows a password on a Post-It Note, stuck to a monitor, raising further questions about the security in the facility.

Last Saturday, an emergency alert was issued by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency warning islanders to take cover, claiming that a ballistic missile was incoming.

Tensions are running high in the region as it is thought that North Korea is close to being able to produce missiles capable of hitting the US island state.

The password “warningpoint2” is apparently for an internal application that is no longer in use, but it has raised questions about the general security of HEMA and other facilities like it.

The mistake occurred when an operative clicked the wrong button on an ageing user interface, triggering a live alert instead of a test. Although there have been repeated warnings that missile systems and alert mechanisms are prone to hacking, in this case, it was human error blamed on an unclear UI.

Meanwhile, in Japan, lightning struck twice, after state broadcaster NHK accidentally triggered a similar alert warning of an incoming attack. However, their alert was revoked after a minute – the panic in Hawaii lasted a full 38 minutes because nobody at a local level had the permissions to deactivate the alarm and send a cancellation text.

In light of all this, the question has been raised about what would happen in this country, should there be a genuine crisis. We are lucky in this regard, as an island surrounded by allies (despite our seeming determination to p*ss them off) but if it did happen, we’re told that GCHQ would take control of everyone’s mobiles, send a warning message, and deactivate them as communication devices, meaning that they could send messages, but calls could only be made by emergency and military personnel.

It is thought that although the BBC still has a hidden bunker studio somewhere in rural England, some of the facilities for communication left over from the Cold War were removed when Broadcasting House was redeveloped. µ



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