The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau recently issued e-mail warnings to Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants reporting that malicious cyber activity could expose vulnerabilities in the EAS system.
The FCC says there have been incidents of EAS equipment being connected to the Internet with weak or inadequate network security or device settings which leave the equipment vulnerable to Internet-based hacking. The FCC recommends that EAS participants take action to ensure that EAS equipment is secure from cyberattacks that can disable the equipment.
The FCC recommends that broadcasters change manufacturers’ default passwords and periodically install updates to their EAS equipment. Passwords should also be changed after personnel changes or security incidents, or if an EAS device is logged into from outside the station or from a shared or public computer. The FCC also advises for EAS equipment to be secured behind firewalls.
The FCC has published a best practices guide with suggestions that stations can take to secure themselves from an attack.
If you have questions about the FCC’s warning on EAS security, please contact any attorney in our office.