PSA: Hawaii officials confirm ‘ballistic missile threat’ emergency alert sent to iPhones was false alarm

People in Hawaii woke up to a terrifying emergency alert sent to iPhones and other devices that officials now say was sent in error.

The emergency alert read ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.’, but fortunately was actually a mistake possibly as part of a drill despite the message claiming to be real.

The accident is clearly a massive mistake and one that requires a follow up alert to ensure people know the message was sent in error. Officials were quick to say a correction alert would follow, although it took nearly 40 minutes for that to occur.

The error was reportedly due to an “internal only drill” that was clearly not internal only and labelled “not a drill”.

As The Washington Post reported in November, sirens to warn of ballistic missile attacks were reinstated last month in response to growing concern of a potential North Korea nuclear threat. It’s possible the two are related. Starting December 1, Hawaii has begun testing those sirens on the first of each month.

A second emergency alert has been issued that reads: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” Officials also say there is no sign that hacking occurred.

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Introduced in 2007 by Steve Jobs, iPhone is Apple's flagship iOS device and easily its most popular product around the world. The iPhone runs iOS and includes a large collection of mobile apps through the App Store.

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