Cyber Security Threat is Real – Protect Your Station

Last week the US Government, issued warnings to all American companies about looming cybersecurity threats tied to the current political climate with Russia.  We need to understand that all broadcast stations, especially those in states like New York, may be targets.  Local stations are considered to be critical infrastructure and we need to take steps to make sure we are shielded.

The Federal Government advised companies to follow eight key to protect themselves from any pressing cyber threat.

  1. Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication for all computer/system logins to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system.
  2. Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats (virus software, security updates).
  3. Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors.
  4. Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors.
  5. Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that you are prepared to respond quickly to minimize the impact of any attack. This is especially key for broadcasters in case your signal is hacked.
  6. Encrypt your data so it cannot be used if it is stolen.
  7. Educate your employees to common tactics that attackers will use over email or through websites, and encourage them to report if their computers or phones have shown unusual behavior, such as unusual crashes or operating very slowly.
  8. Engage proactively with your local FBI field office (Michigan has a Detroit field office) or CISA Regional Office (Michigan is Region 5) to establish relationships in advance of any cyber incidents. Please encourage your IT and Security leadership to visit the websites of the FBI and CISA where they will find technical information and other useful resources.

Kelly Williams, VP of Engineering and Technology Policy of the National Association of Broadcasters, has some timely advice for broadcasters regarding the security of their broadcast infrastructure.  This 15-minute podcast is worth a listen, as you work to strengthen your information technology infrastructure to resist attacks from outsiders:

To see the full White House cyber security memo click HERE.

The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has also launched a new “Shields Up” resource page with detailed guidance for businesses to consider, click HERE.

In addition, The National Association of Broadcasters has made various cybersecurity resources available HERE.

NYSBA offers its members cybersecurity training.  For more information contact David Donovan at


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