MULTIPLE CITIES -
- EAS experts are cautioning
broadcasters to change the password of
their Emergency Alert System because of three known hacking incidents. The first occurred in Montana, with two other incidents reported in
The SBE National EAS committee urges station personnel to make sure
the password of their web interface for their Common Alerting Protocol
EAS encoders/decoders is different from the factory default to thwart
more potential hacking incidents. Several broadcasting Listservs are reporting attempts to hack into
EAS encoders/decoders with the apparent intent of transmitting bogus
The first station says a bogus alert aired yesterday. KRTV-TV of
Falls, Mont., says hackers breached their EAS and announced that there
was an emergency in several Montana counties. “This message did not
originate from KRTV and there is no emergency,” said the station on
website, which added that its engineers were looking into what happened
and if other stations were affected as well.
The fake alert warned about “dead bodies rising from the grave,
and attacking the living,” according to the
, which added that the fake alert was also on
the station’s website and Facebook page before being removed.
One engineer in Salt Lake City said on the SBE EAS Listserv he
off such an attack: “There was no record of anything received on the
box (CAP or legacy) but there was a transmission about bodies rising
from the grave under a CEM header. I headed it off before any of our
main channel stations aired it but it did auto-forward to our HD2
channels, as such an ‘emergency’ should have.”
in Marquette, Mich. reports the “zombie” bogus alerts aired
television stations in the Upper Peninsula as well: WNMU-TV and
WBUP-TV. WNMU General Manager Eric Smith told the Journal this morning authorities found
the source of the hacking overseas and the loophole in his station’s
system has been closed.
The FCC and FBI were reportedly involved in investigating the
incidents, along with local and state authorities, according to the
is trying to confirm that information.
Engineers stress that stations should ensure their IP network for
piece of gear is firewall-protected and has a strong password.