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Hackers Can Breach Emergency Alert Systems With Ease

By - Source: Computerworld | B 18 comments

Emergency alert system devices used by radio and TV stations exposed to cyberattacks.

Security consultancy firm IOActive has warned that emergency alert system devices utilized by radio and TV stations can easily be hacked in an effort to cause widespread panic.

Hackers had recently hacked into a number of television stations' Emergency Alert Systems to broadcast that zombies were "rising from their graves" and "attacking the living." However, while that was a comical hoax, IOActive warned that hackers can divulge such messages with ease, and it may be a more serious message next time, such as a terrorist attack.

"We found some devices directly connected to the Internet and we think that it's possible that hackers are currently exploiting some of these vulnerabilities or some other flaws," chief technology officer of IOActive Cesar Cerrudo told Computerworld.

Cerrudo stated that at least two types of Emergency Alert System devices are predominately vulnerable to attacks. "We contacted CERT [U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team] almost a month ago and CERT is coordinating with the vendor to get the issues fixed," he said.

The hacker that bypassed the television stations' systems security for the zombie hoax is said to have utilized a "back door" attack.

"It has been determined that a 'back door' attack allowed the hacker to access the security of the EAS equipment," said Cynthia Thompson, station manager for ABC 10, which was one of the stations affected. "The nature of the message Monday night was not necessarily dangerous, but the fact that the system was vulnerable to outside intrusion is a danger."

Zombies TV Hoax

 

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  • 13 Hide
    master_chen , February 15, 2013 8:27 AM


    It's been here already.
  • 5 Hide
    boju , February 15, 2013 9:11 AM
    Im pretty certain zombies don't exist, not yet. But if this alleged hacked broad cast hoax takes place on a radio station near me, i'll make sure im prepared for the peopleocalypse it will cause, there's plenty out there.
  • 7 Hide
    virtualban , February 15, 2013 9:32 AM
    Power grids, nuclear launches, and similar might need to be separated by air, no internet connections.
    But,
    Taking more care to protect systems is a must. A balance between always connected and never connected if unable to protect it properly.
  • 7 Hide
    master_chen , February 15, 2013 9:36 AM
    Quote:
    I'm pretty certain zombies don't exist, not yet...


    B-B-But..muh bath salts!? :sweat: 
  • 2 Hide
    boju , February 15, 2013 9:42 AM
    Quote:
    B-B-But..muh bath salts!? :sweat: 


    LOL that's cheating :heink: 
  • 4 Hide
    boju , February 15, 2013 9:48 AM
    Quote:
    Power grids, nuclear launches, and similar might need to be separated by air, no internet connections.
    But,
    Taking more care to protect systems is a must. A balance between always connected and never connected if unable to protect it properly.


    John McClane knows how F'd up something like that would be.
  • 3 Hide
    master_chen , February 15, 2013 9:57 AM
    Quote:
    John McClane knows how F'd up something like that would be.


    GOD that movie SUUUUUUCKED!!!!!!!!!111 :fou: 

    Just returned from yesterday's screening of "A Good Day To Kill Hard A Good Franchise"..
  • -1 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 15, 2013 10:34 AM
    But I mean the real target is normal people. Mostly the ones who do not know better. I find it in poor taste that this is being done. I thought these attacks were supposed to be in protest against governments and big business.

    Not cool. It's for the prank and nothing else.
  • -3 Hide
    bender3000 , February 15, 2013 11:04 AM
    Zombies are sooooo passe'...
  • 2 Hide
    g00fysmiley , February 15, 2013 11:46 AM
    bojuIm pretty certain zombies don't exist, not yet. But if this alleged hacked broad cast hoax takes place on a radio station near me, i'll make sure im prepared for the peopleocalypse it will cause, there's plenty out there.


    yes and no on zombies existing... ever seen what happens in advanced case rabies victims, that is pretty much what some of the basics of zombies are based upon , granted they are amplified sensationalized and eating brains is not part of the symtoms, but violent behavior mania and violent tendencies/moptions is a part of it but once they die a few days/weeks later they stay dead so there is that part... but it does kill 50k+ people a year worldwide
  • 2 Hide
    boju , February 15, 2013 11:59 AM
    Quote:
    yes and no on zombies existing... ever seen what happens in advanced case rabies victims, that is pretty much what some of the basics of zombies are based upon , granted they are amplified sensationalized and eating brains is not part of the symtoms, but violent behavior mania and violent tendencies/moptions is a part of it but once they die a few days/weeks later they stay dead so there is that part... but it does kill 50k+ people a year worldwide


    Rabies isn't nice there's been a few deaths here in Aus related to Bat bites.

    Erratic behavior can also be caused by drugs, can probably call them zombies too, well yea they probably are the serious addicts. To be fair, the type of zombie used as a hoax discussed here is what you would probably see in games and movies.

    When brains is on the menu...HEAD TO THE HILLS! argh probably not, mummas basement would probably have decent locks on it ;P


  • 1 Hide
    p05esto , February 15, 2013 1:00 PM
    Best hack ever!!!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    kingnoobe , February 15, 2013 1:02 PM
    You think "rising from the graves" would be a dead give away. I personally would've went with a mutated rabies virus. As that is actually a possibility (no matter how unlikely it could happen).
  • 2 Hide
    catfishtx , February 15, 2013 1:13 PM
    I work for an electric utility and our control network (The one that can remotely open\close every piece of automation in our system) is completely separate from the corporate network that is connected to the Internet. I thought this was a requirement, you know, to keep our electric grid safe from terrorists. Why on Earth are these other systems connected to the Internet?

    In a way, we should be thankful that these pranking hackers did this in a less populated market and that the "warning" was so obviously false. Imagine the chaos if this happened in NYC about some new super-flu that is killing hundreds a day.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , February 15, 2013 4:32 PM
    I'm really hoping that when the apocalypse happens, it is of the zombie variety. I already have a zombie preparedness plan that was jointly drawn up by many of my friends. My wife knows what to do and where to go if it happens. I have plenty of supplies (need to stock up on guns/ammo a bit more though). Unfortunately, I live in the center of a densely populated city so there is still a good chance that I die outright. Of course this means that I'm going to take any emergency broadcasts seriously until proven otherwise. If it is a false alarm, maybe I'll get a day off work for it.
  • 0 Hide
    Maliceinslaughterland , February 18, 2013 12:43 PM
    CH95 Virus or the T-Virus?
  • 1 Hide
    master_chen , February 18, 2013 1:08 PM
    T-Virus almost entirely consists of Ebola's code (it's basically modified Ebola), so...really.
  • 0 Hide
    jalek , February 18, 2013 7:51 PM
    catfishtxI work for an electric utility and our control network (The one that can remotely open\close every piece of automation in our system) is completely separate from the corporate network that is connected to the Internet. I thought this was a requirement, you know, to keep our electric grid safe from terrorists. Why on Earth are these other systems connected to the Internet?


    Even that common-sense security measure isn't absolute. Governments, local and federal, want monitoring and oversight access for regulators and other agencies that might not want to reveal their activities. They don't even have to log their perusal of people's personal data anymore, why would they want to tell corporations anything?