False missile alert human errors: Darcy cartoon

Pauline Gross
January 19, 2018

Since Saturday afternoon, Miyagi confirmed that Hi-EMA will now require a two-person verification to send alerts and launch real missile alerts.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK mistakenly sent an alert today warning that North Korea had fired a missile, just days after a similar mistake caused panic in Hawaii.

The state set up the ballistic missile warning infrastructure after North Korea demonstrated its ballistic missiles had the range to reach the islands. "THIS IS NOT A DRILL", read the alert from Hawaii Emergency Management Agency shortly after 8 a.m. on January 14.

On Monday, Gov. David Ige appointed a state Army National Guard official to oversee a review of Hawaii's emergency management process in response to the error.

The mistake by Hawaii's EMA exposed a stunning lack of basic safeguards to prevent such a false warning, and to quickly correct such a mistake, instead of the almost 40 minutes it took the agency to do so. NHK deleted the tweet and text warning after several minutes, issued a correction and apologized several times on air and on other formats.

The same alert was sent to mobile phone users of NHK's online news distribution service.

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Residents and holidaymakers in Hawaii awoke to a message which read: "Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii".

But it took officials longer to work up and push out the false alarm alert to cellphones. "We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again".

"Back in the day, they trained for duck and cover but at the end of the day, this would be a nationwide event and the information would be coming out from the state", said Sutton.

The FBI's Strategic Information and Operations Center, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency are monitoring the situation, a USA official told CNN. There was no system for retracting the false alarm.

"One of the things I appreciate about our siren system is it's very clear about the fact that you are going to activate it, and actually the buttons are highlighted in the way that it's easier to push the cancel", says Keith Stammer.

Although the password and computers in the photo are likely different from the system that sent out the false alarm over the weekend, it does pose questions over employees' approach to security and general practices at the agency.

Other reports by GizPress

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