American Signal Corporation Updates 57 Milwaukee County Sirens with Encryption Communication Cards

Encryption cards protect legacy sirens from sophisticated hacking and unauthorized activation

MILWAUKEE, Wisc. – 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) to retrofit the county’s 57-siren outdoor warning system with protection against activation tampering.

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.

For more information about American Signal Corporation’s ECC or any other products, visit the company’s website at https://www.americansignal.com/.

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American Signal Corporation (ASC) is a leading designer and manufacturer of mass notification solutions, combining advanced engineering, innovative software and state-of-the-art equipment with an extraordinary record of longevity and expertise in the field. We aim to save lives every day.