DHS warns of flaws in U.S. emergency alert system

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued warning on identified vulnerabilities in the country’s emergency broadcast network.

The flaws identified by Ken Pyle, security expert at could be used by attackers to issue false alerts via radio and television stations.

“We recently became aware of certain vulnerabilities in EAS encoder / decoder devices that, if not updated to most recent software versions, could allow an actor to issue EAS alerts over the host infrastructure (TV, radio, cable network),” the DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned.

According to Pyle, the vulnerabilities are in the Monroe Electronics R189 One-Net DASDEC EA, an encoder and decoder of the Emergency Alert System. The device is used by radio and television stations to transmit emergency alerts.

Pyle explained that these vulnerabilities have not been patched for several years and have now become a huge bug.

Pyle identified several actions for which the vulnerabilities can be exploited.

“I can easily obtain access to the credentials, certs, devices, exploit the web server, send fake alerts via crafts message, have them valid / pre-empting signals at will. I can also lock legitimate users out when I do, neutralizing or disabling a response,” Pyle noted.

The sources for this piece include an article in ArsTechnica.

IT World Canada Staff
IT World Canada Staff
The online resource for Canadian Information Technology professionals.

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