FCC & FEMA to Broadcasters: SOME EAS EQUIPMENT MAY BE VULNERABLE TO HACKING – CHECK AND UPGRADE EQUIPMENT NOW

Both FEMA and the FCC have issued an advisory regarding vulnerabilities in EAS encoder/decoder devices that, if not updated to the most recent software versions, could allow an actor to issue EAS alerts over your station. The problem primarily involves Monroe DASDEC boxes that have not updated software to the 4.0 version or higher. Devices that have not been updated to at least the 4.0 version are vulnerable. Nonetheless, the FCC urges all EAS participants to upgrade all of their equipment:

“The Bureau again urges all EAS Participants, regardless of the make and model of their EAS equipment, to upgrade their equipment software and firmware to the most recent versions recommended by the manufacturer and secure their equipment behind a properly configured firewall as soon as possible.”

The Commission’s notice emphasized that under its rules, EAS participants are “responsible for ensuring that EAS Encoders, EAS Decoders, Attention Signal generating and receiving equipment, and Intermediate Devices used as part of the EAS are functioning properly.” There may be a liability for stations that do not maintain equipment.

After the false EAS alert in Hawaii several years ago, the FCC is looking at EAS issues closely. So, make sure you have taken the steps to ensure that your system cannot be hacked. This will include getting the most up-to-date software and making sure you have an appropriate firewall. You do not want your station to be hacked and become responsible for triggering a false EAS alert.

CNN has done some excellent reporting on the subject. The story can be found here.

FEMA’s advisory can be found here.

The FCC’s advisory can be found here.

 

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