Computer Hacking is Now Plaguing 9-1-1 Systems

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Computer hacking is always a worry, and it becomes an even bigger worry when the computer being hacked into operates the local 9-1-1 system, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

"We have seen malware that tries to extort money form 9-1-1 operations, holding them hostage, and we have seen denial of service attacks which try to take 9-1-1 off line so it can't serve the public," said Trey Forgety with the National Emergency Number Association, the group that operates the nation's 9-1-1 systems. 

They are holding their national convention in San Antonio this week, and hacking is a key topic.

"We are working now to move to next generation 9-1-1 which will take us away from legacy infrastructure that we can't defend, to next generation infrastructure that we can," he said.

Forgety warns that will be expensive, but it is necessary to make sure the nation's 9-1-1 systems are not vulnerable to hackers.

Another issue being discussed at the conference has to do with the fact that more and more people are calling 9-1-1 on mobile devices, while the system was set up to handle land line calls.

"One of the things we're working on here is to make sure that when you call 9-1-1, we can find you," he said.

But Forgety says 9-1-1 is not going away, and will be around to serve people in crisis for generations to come.

"9-1-1 is never going away," he said.  "In the future you'll be able to access it not just by phone, but also by text, video, and data."

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