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Zombies on the loose

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Hackers targeted EAS nationwide.
The FCC, FBI and several state and local law enforcement agencies are investigating what now appears to have been a widespread hack attack on the Emergency Alert System. The full extent of the attack isn’t yet clear, but several HD2 stations aired a bogus message about zombies. Engineers say the hackers apparently had a solid working knowledge of EAS.
FCC: Stations should reset passwords.
The FCC is telling all radio stations to immediately reset the passwords on their Emergency Alert System equipment from factory-installed settings. It’s also telling stations they must put the new CAP-compliant EAS equipment behind a firewall router.

Three cases of "zombie attacks" aired as Emergency Alert System alerts have raised questions of the security of the system and are serving as a reminder for stations to change their EAS passwords.
In the first instance on MONDAY, CBS affiliate KRTV (TV)/GREAT FALLS, MT and its CW affiliate digital multicast channel aired an alert sent as a prank warning of bodies "rising from the grave" and attacking the populace.
Later, ABC affiliate WBUP-TV, CW affiliate WBKP-TV, and PBS affiliate WNMU-TV/MARQUETTE, MI aired the same alert, and in LACROSSE, WI, MIDWEST FAMILY BROADCASTING, the morning show at Top 40 WIZM-F (Z93) played a tape of the GREAT FALLS incident, the tones on which accidentally triggered the alert and airing of the zombie warning at CBS affiliate WKBT-TV.
Stations are being urged to make sure the passwords for their EAS devices are updated and not using the default administrative passwords.

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