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Friday, 15 February 2013 11:07

Zombies put fear of god in US

Written by Nick Farrell



Brainless Civil Defense can’t protect themselves

Earlier this week we ran a yarn about how a hacker took out a US television channel’s emergency broadcast story and ran a fake broadcast about Zombies rising from their graves. But a typical hack which was amusing at the time, is being taken as seriously as a terrorist attack by the humourless US.

The problem is not Zombies so much as the fact that the attack showed how pathetic the civil defence IT system was. Security experts said the equipment used by the Emergency Alert System remained vulnerable when stations allow it be accessed via the public internet. What is worrying them is that during a real disaster a foreign power or terror group could use the same attack vector to cause more damage.

Karole White, president of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters said that it was not what the hackers said. It is the fact that they got into the system. They could have caused some real damage. It was believed the hackers were able to get in because TV stations had not changed the default passwords they used when the equipment was first shipped from the manufacturer.

Broadcasters were ordered to change the passwords for the EAS equipment, but Mike Davis, a hardware security expert with IOActive Labs said that would not stop the hackers, who could get past the password protection scheme.
The FCC ordered the telly stations to check systems to ensure that hackers had not queued "unauthorised alerts" for future transmission.

Nick Farrell

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