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It came without warning. As workers were busy preparing forecasts and alerts at a National Weather Service center in Maryland on Wednesday morning, they were suddenly interrupted by a message in Chinese piped over the building’s intercom.
The voice was a woman’s, which also reached building employees via phone at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Md.
The article goes on to state the following:
On Wednesday afternoon, Weather Service officials scrambled to understand the source of the audio intrusion.
“We are aware of the Chinese message that is propagating through the phone system and was [broadcast] over the building PA,” read an email from Doug Fenderson, the branch chief for infrastructure and Web services at the center, sent at 12:50 p.m. “We are engaging the Vendor AT&T to alert them of the incident and get root cause. The phone [system] is not tied to any of the Government IT controlled systems in the building. Please do not be alarmed.”
A Weather Service employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the phone message came about 15 minutes before the intercom message. Both messages lasted about 45 seconds. The employee said nothing else out of the ordinary had happened at the center Wednesday.
The intercom message, translated from Chinese, said something to the effect of “you have a package from Amazon at the Chinese Embassy, press 1 for more details,” the employee said.
The Washington Post reported that NOAA said the intrusion was a “robo-call scam.
The NOAA statement said its information technology team worked with its phone vendor “to prevent all outside telephone numbers from accessing the building’s PA system, to prevent this from occurring again.”
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— Shows Broadcast (@Shows_Broadcast) August 9, 2018
— TWS – Tech News (@TopWorldSites) August 9, 2018
Chinese ‘robocall’ scam hits US weather office https://t.co/KV7fy8Sttj The audio message was broadcast inside a National Weather Service office in Maryland. August 09, 2018 at 07:31AM
— ViperNebulous (@vipernebulous) August 9, 2018
“You have a package from Amazon at the Chinese Embassy. Press 1 for more details”.https://t.co/flK1XOAUU8
— Business Insider AUS (@BIAUS) August 9, 2018