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Japan IT Technology

Days After Hawaii's False Missile Alarm, a New One in Japan (nytimes.com) 67

An anonymous reader shares a report: Japan's public broadcaster on Tuesday accidentally sent news alerts that North Korea had launched a missile and that citizens should take shelter -- just days after the government of Hawaii had sent a similar warning to its citizens. The broadcaster, NHK, corrected itself five minutes later and apologized for the error on its evening news (Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source). The initial texts cited J-Alert, a system used by the government to issue warnings to its citizens about missiles, tsunamis and other natural disasters. But NHK later said that the system was not to blame for the false alarm. Makoto Sasaki, a spokesman for NHK, apologized, saying that "staff had mistakenly operated the equipment to deliver news alerts over the internet."
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Days After Hawaii's False Missile Alarm, a New One in Japan

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  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @09:56AM (#55945595) Homepage
    I believe these false alerts are deliberate, and are being used to see what happens when people think there's an attack. These false alerts also act to discredit the real alerts, if God forbid one ever comes. The whole thing is deeply disconcerting, and I hope a patriotic leaker comes forward with the real story to Wikileaks.
    • I believe these false alerts are deliberate, and are being used to see what happens when people think there's an attack.

      When people said that after the Hawaii alert, I thought it was unfounded. Now that it's happened again so rapidly, I think that's a credible idea. These could also be political acts, however, being done to make a point about NK.

      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        I believe these false alerts are deliberate...

        ...I think that's a credible idea.

        Hanlon's razor [wikipedia.org]: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

        Do you think Japan & Hawaii coordinated these experiments or that they came up with the same idea independently? Seems far-fetched to me.

        • Hanlon's razor [wikipedia.org]: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

          That's just what a malicious actor wants you to think.

        • Yaknow, I thought it was far-fetched that a CNN moderator would cheat and give Hillary Clinton the debate questions beforehand. It's like something the villain would do in a Charlie Brown cartoon special. But it happened.

          I thought it was far-fetched that a senior Politico journalist, a serious man with serious credibility, would run his articles past the Democrats before publishing. But it happened. His punishment? He was hired by the New York Times after the election.

          I thought it was far-fetched tha

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There was a mistaken warning about an earthquake sent out a few weeks ago too, but I guess it's not a missile so it wasn't seen as a big deal. Basically there were two small earthquakes separated by a few minutes and not too far apart, which the system decided was one big earthquake and sent out the alert.

      The general feeling seemed to be "better safe than sorry".

    • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @10:40AM (#55945901) Journal

      I believe these false alerts are deliberate, and are being used to see what happens when people think there's an attack.

      I've heard a few conspiracies, including that the Hawaii debacle was done on purpose to make Trump look bad. However, since we shouldn't be quick to attribute malice to what can be explained by incompetence, it's easy enough for me to believe a government worker screwed up.

      These false alerts also act to discredit the real alerts, if God forbid one ever comes. The whole thing is deeply disconcerting, and I hope a patriotic leaker comes forward with the real story to Wikileaks.

      I could see your point if this happened a few times, but I think having it happen once is a good thing. The vast majority of Hawaiians probably had no idea what to do in this case. You could see it in all of the YouTube videos posted out there. I'm sure a lot of them have now taken stock in where they will go & what they should do if the real thing happens, which they hadn't considered before.

      • Yes, a government worker made a mistake. However the larger issue here was the bad user interface design and the lack of programmatic dual authorization controls.

        On the UI side, the interface simply consisted of a bunch of hyperlinks in no particular order with test messages and real messages interspersed. Upon clicking a link, the page just asked if you were sure you wanted to send a message but didn't show what the message actually was. It allowed one operator to make all the decisions with no oversi
        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          What did the contractor build for the local gov?
          A GUI on a computer with "test" and "alarm" on a mouse click? A touch screen with two easy to read options?
          The every shift test system should be easy to get to.
          The alarm button use should be a bit more considered than selecting the test function?
          Some sort of industrial control buttons on a more impressive looking design?
          The "test" and "alarm" button are next too each other and the same color, size and type of easy to use button?
      • by jaxn ( 112189 )

        Oh honey, Trump doesn't need Hawaii's help to look bad.

    • And the purpose of doing this would be what exactly?

    • They're real alerts. NK is firing missiles, but we're shooting them down with lasers (from satellites, not sharks).
      We can't pull the plug on the alerts without revealing our hand. And there's always the possibility that we fail to zap one.

    • A good way I've found to Occam it is...

      1. Once is happenstance
      2. Twice is coincidence.
      3. Thrice? Now we have a pattern.

      It's similar to music.

      1. One note is a melody.
      2. Two notes are an interval.

      Neither of those are enough to signify the key of the music.

      3. Three notes sets the key.

      Now there's a pattern to work with.

  • Hah (Score:5, Funny)

    by bruce_the_loon ( 856617 ) on Wednesday January 17, 2018 @09:59AM (#55945619) Homepage

    Let me guess, the conversation went as follows.

    Boss - Show me our system can't make the same mistake what the Hawaii one did.
    Operator - It can't boss, look. First you click here, then here and then her.. oh shit, oh shit, shit.
    Boss - <running in circles> Make it stop, make it stop.

  • password on sticky note Warningpoint2

  • Twice is coincidence...

    Watch this spot.

  • I've long wondered what would happen if a presidential alert was accidentally sent. Most all newer mobile phones intended for use in the U.S. will respond to such alerts. Presidential alerts can't be turned off on non-rooted phones. I could easily envision someone doing this as a jab to the Trump administration.

    Hopefully, national presidential alerts are better safeguarded than many state and local based alerts. Incompetence abounds. Even after the event. According to some articles I've read, the state of H

  • to be able to pass any laws that you want....

  • Makoto Sasaki, a spokesman for NHK, apologized, saying that "staff had mistakenly operated the equipment to deliver news alerts over the internet." NHK is now looking for new staff to replace the old one that commited seppuku.

  • Nuclear monsters inbound, take shelter!

  • Only kind of alert I think may be useful are one of those radios that respond when NOAA NWS sends out a tornado warning. Other than that, I think last time aerial bombardment alerts were useful was in WWII, or maybe first Gulf War of incoming Scud missiles. Airstrikes these days are first realized at bombstrikes, an incoming missile with nuclear bomb... not sure what to do about that.

    I remember signing up for county alerts only to get late at night (and wow I didn't know cellphone can be that loud) a miss

    • I had emergency alerts enabled where I work. I very quickly disabled them.

      The first issue is that the vast majority of the alerts were not relevant to where I worked, but were for a neighboring area.
      They quickly implemented a filter to let people subscribe to 2 different lists to try and separate those out. They still bled over.

      The second issue was that the vast majority of the emergency alerts were for non emergencies. I don't like being awoken at 3 AM to hear about an attempted bike theft or an alleged

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "The alert system designed to keep me safe?"
        It kept overtime support and upgrades to the alert system safe.
  • This was not a "false missile alarm" or any kind of fault in J-Alert system. This was news organization (NHK) mistakenly publishing a pre-written news piece, kinda like when premature obituaries occur. That is not to say there hasn't been a mistake in J-Alert testing producing a false missile alarm. In fact it has happened several times already:

    4/19/2017 in Osaki, Miyagi. False missile warning broadcasted over loud speakers while testing of J-Alert system. Correction issued after 6 minutes.

    9/8/2017 in Yokka

  • The attacks are virtual, the people calculated to be dead will "disappear" soon.

Chemist who falls in acid will be tripping for weeks.

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