Critical Vulnerability in Emergency Alert Systems of United States

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A vulnerability discovered by a security researcher in the emergency alert systems of the United States could allow hackers to infiltrate the servers to send out fake alerts across the country. The security researcher in the above stated reference is Ken Pyle, who is about to present his analysis at the Las Vegas conference between August 11-14th this year and will represent formally CYBIR.com.

US Department of Homeland Security has taken a note of the software flaw and, after analyzing its effects, issued a warning that cyber crooks could hijack the emergency alert systems to trigger fake warnings about an unforeseen apocalypse over radio and TV stations.

The DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has asked Mr. Ken to report on this note and is also interested in seeing his presentation at the DEFCON 2022 conference to be held in mid this month.

Ensuring that patches are applied to EAS systems on a regular note and they are placed behind a well-protected firewall is what that needs to be carried out now, said Pyle.

Technical analysis released to Bleeping Computer, a renowned tech resource, confirms that the vulnerability is present in Monroe Electronics R189 One-Net DASDEC EAS, an encoder or decoder used in emergency alert systems and across all TV and radio stations.

If history is anything to go by, such alert systems were being used by government authorities to broadcast warnings in bulk- say in 80s to almost 10-15 years ago. But now, with smart phone, 5G network and social media, old alert systems are being replaced by new digital technologies news alert banners directly targeted onto the home screens of mobile phone users.

 

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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