Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Druva inSync Free Trial
Druva inSync with DLP,
analytics & secure file sharing.

druva.com/inSync-Trial
Network Security
Gartner's #1 for endpoint backup
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
'Zombie' Alert Shows Emergency Broadcasts Can Be Hacked

'Zombie' Alert Shows Emergency Broadcasts Can Be Hacked
By Barry Levine

Share
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Share on Google Plus

Seattle security firm IOActive said it has uncovered vulnerabilities in the digital alerting application servers, or DASDEC, which receive and authenticate Emergency Alerting System messages. When a message has been received and authenticated, DASDEC interrupts a TV or radio broadcast with the well-known alert tone and the message.
 


A recent zombie apocalypse showed the vulnerability of the United States' emergency broadcasting system. In February, hackers interrupted Montana TV with reports of a zombie apocalypse, using the Emergency Alerting System (EAS), and this week a security firm, citing the zombie attack, has recommended that the system be re-engineered.

Seattle-based IOActive has said that the zombie news bulletin showed the system's weaknesses. IOActive principal research scientist Mike Davis told news media that, "although there was no zombie apocalypse, it did highlight just how vulnerable the system is."

The zombie bulletin also played on a Michigan radio station, and it said that civil authorities "have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living." It added the suggestion that witnesses not "attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous."

10 Minutes to POTUS

IOActive said it has uncovered vulnerabilities in the digital alerting application servers, or DASDEC, which receive and authenticate EAS messages. When a message has been received and authenticated, DASDEC interrupts a broadcast with the well-known alert tone and the message.

Davis said in a statement that DASDEC application servers "are currently shipped with their root privileged SSH key as part of the firmware update package." The key enables a remote logon, and can let the holder manipulate any system function, including disrupting a station's transmission.

Among other functions, the EAS is intended to allow the President of the United States to speak to the country's citizens in as little as 10 minutes from when a disaster or other event occurs. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees the EAS.

'Potential Security Vulnerability'

The DASDEC systems are made by Monroe Electronics in New York, which released in April a software update that it said resolved the "potential security vulnerability" and improved several operational features. The changes included removal of default SSH keys and a simplification of the process to load new SSH keys.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported last week that, while IOActive has reported "that the administrative web server uses a predictable, monotonically increasing session ID," based on running the web server in a test environment, Monroe Electronics "could not reproduce this finding" in the factory or in the field. It is not currently clear if the vulnerabilities reported by IOActive have been resolved.

The first nationwide test of the EAS was conducted by the Federal Communications Commission and FEMA at 2pm ET on November 9, 2011, when a 30-second test interruption with sample messaging broke into most TV and radio broadcasts in the country. While EAS has been tested and used on previous occasions, this was its first transmission nationwide, and a key goal was to find any glitches. In that sense, it was successful, in that it turned out some stations didn't air the test and some interruptions exceeded 30 seconds.

Editorial note: Please see additional information in the Comments section below, provided by Monroe Electronics about security updates they have provided to resolve potential vulnerability of the system.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Editor:

Posted: 2013-07-25 @ 9:22am PT
Thank you Ed Czarnecki. We appreciate the additional information and clarifications provided below for our readers about Monroe Electronic's efforts to address the security concerns discussed.

Ed Czarnecki:

Posted: 2013-07-25 @ 9:17am PT
A very critical omission in the article and the researcher's report is that **several months ago**, Monroe Electronics issued a software release with a cumulative security update that addressed these reported concerns. The software update was actually issued in a soft release in March 2013, and then in a general release in April 2013. Our understanding is that most users had already implemented this update.

To excerpt from the actual ICS-CERT report from the US goverment:

"On April 24, 2013, Monroe Electronics and Digital Alert Systems released firmware version 2.0-2 that disables the compromised SSH key, provides a simplified user option to install new unique keys, and enforces a new password policy. Monroe Electronics has taken considerable effort to provide update information to DASDEC and One-NetSE users."

Also, please see our April 24th statement on the matter here: http://www.digitalalertsystems.com/pdf/130604-Monroe-Security-PR.pdf

I also would note a recent statement from Dan Watson, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which handles oversight of the EAS, who confirmed that the issue was fixed via a software update.

We undertook great efforts to provide a cumulative security update that removed all SSH keys, addressed password policy, and made other security enhancements. We also made a committed effort to contact our users directly with information about the nature of the concern, and the software mitigation, and the need to adhere to accepted network security practices.

I hope you appreciate the importance of clarifying this omission in the article.

Yours very respectfully,
Ed Czarnecki
Senior Director - Strategy and Regulatory Affairs
Monroe Electronics/Digital Alert Systems

Richard Roberts III:

Posted: 2013-07-15 @ 1:35pm PT
Who's to say the zombie's aren't real. that it didn't happen. and now they are just covering it up.



Get Powerful App Acceleration with Cisco. In a world where time is money, you need to accelerate the speed at which data moves through your data center. Cisco UCS Invicta delivers powerful, easy-to-manage application acceleration for data-intensive workloads. So you can make decisions faster and outpace the competition. Learn More.


 Network Security
1.   Target Data Breach Cost: $148 Million
2.   Aruba Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
3.   Chinese Hackers Steal Patient Data
4.   FBI Cybersquad To Add Agents
5.   Apple Opens China iCloud Data Center


advertisement
Target Data Breach Cost: $148 Million
Better customer data protection needed.
Average Rating:
Aruba Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
Network firm sees 2,376 DoS attacks.
Average Rating:
FBI Cybersquad To Add Agents
Rewarded for recent security successes.
Average Rating:
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Cost of Target Data Breach: $148 Million Plus Loss of Trust
The now infamous Target data breach is still costing the company -- and its shareholders -- plenty. In fact, the retailing giant forecast the December 2013 incident cost shareholders $148 million.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 
Chinese Hackers Nab Info on Millions of U.S. Patients
A group of Chinese hackers has stolen the personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, of about 4.5 million patients at hospitals operated by Community Health Systems.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Three New Lenovo PCs Aimed at Business Users
Businesses everywhere want computing solutions that do more for less money, and Lenovo has unveiled three new desktop PCs that offer solid computing at a budget-minded price.
 
Aruba Networks Handles Black Hat with Aplomb
It's not an easy job. Aruba Networks' task throughout the Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas this month was to ensure thousands of attendees could connect without malicious attacks.
 
Compression, Deduplication Come to Violin Concerto 2200
Violin Memory has announced that data deduplication and compression capabilities are now available on its Concerto 2200 solution. Typically, users will experience deduplication rates between 6:1 and 10:1.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Apple Stock Soars Ahead of iPhone 6 Launch
The imminent release of the iPhone 6 -- and maybe even an iWatch -- has sent Apple's stock soaring to new heights. Considering what else the firm could have up its sleeve -- the stratosphere may be the limit.
 
HTC Debuts Windows Phone Version of One M8 Smartphone
HTC is bringing the Windows Phone mobile OS to its flagship One M8 device -- the first time any mainstream flagship smartphone has been offered with a choice of operating systems.
 
Verizon Earns Top Rating in Mobile Network Comparison
A new report says Verizon Wireless was the top-performing U.S. cellphone service provider in the first half of 2014, on a nationwide and state-by-state basis, as well as in metro areas.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | CRM Systems | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.