Australian emergency warning system hacked, thousands receive alerts

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After gaining unauthorized access to Australia’s Early Warning Network (EWN), a hacker sent the following alert: “EWN has been hacked. Your personal data stored with us is not safe. We are trying to fix the security issues.”

It also contained an email address to contact EWN support and a link to unsubscribe. That “emergency” message went out to “tens of thousands” of people via text message, email, and landline.

EWN later admitted that its staff was “able to quickly identify the attack and shut off our systems limiting the amount of messages sent out. Unfortunately, a small proportion of our database received this alert.”

The hacker reportedly used “illicitly gained credentials to login” and post the “nuisance spam-notifications.”

Law enforcement is investigating. Meanwhile, EWN will still be used to provide “alerts for severe weather and natural hazard events.”

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