Official zombie warning was a hack, say officials

Jim Finkle:
Poor password security allowed hackers to broadcast a bogus warning on TV networks that the United States was under attack by zombies, broadcasters said, and one expert in the technology said the emergency channel they broke into remained vulnerable.


  1. Did they say this over radio?  Ever so slowly?  Can we hear anything in the background?

    ss … brrr ….  aaaiiiin ….  sss

      1. All this time I was so smug about not having a TV and now this.  Why did I have to miss this?  Whyyyyyyy?

  2. Because of work I do at a local community radio station, I received this FCC alert yesterday morning.  The CAP EAS is the system that in the simplest explanation, makes the emergency alerts happen. (EAS is FCC speak for Emergency Address System.)

    FCC is not happy.

    From the FCC, February 12, 2013.Urgent Advisory:  Immediate actions to be taken regarding CAP EAS device security.All EAS Participants are required to take immediate action to secure their CAP EAS equipment, including resetting passwords, and ensuring CAP EAS equipment is secured behind properly configured firewalls and other defensive measures.  All CAP EAS equipment manufacturer models are included in this advisory.All Broadcast and Cable EAS Participants are urged to take the following actions immediately1.      EAS Participants must change all passwords on their CAP EAS equipment from default factory settings, including administrator and user accounts.2.      EAS Participants are also urged to ensure that their firewalls and other solutions are properly configured and up-to-date.3.      EAS Participants are further advised to examine their CAP EAS equipment to ensure that no unauthorized alerts or messages have been set (queued) for future transmission.4.      If you are unable to reset the default passwords on your equipment, you may consider disconnecting your device’s Ethernet connection until those settings have been updated.5.      EAS Participants that have questions about securing their equipment should consult their equipment manufacturer.

    1. The final line of that bothers me a little.

      If you have questions on something that basic, should you really be a provider of infrastructure like this?

    2. It almost seems like EBS was more secure, with it’s sealed onetime pads. Is FEMA /really/ allowing primary broadcasters the right to choose their own passwords? Or am I misunderstanding the situation?

      1. Yup, you set your own EAS pwords.  BUT the only people with govt. clearance have access to the system.  It’s considered a serious responsibility…..but again but…not too difficult to access if you’re naughty.

    3. Vital to keeping the nation “secure” and this was their best effort…
      Throw money at it and it’ll be fine until something goes wrong then we just call it a cyberattack and get more power…

      I’m also really saddened they needed to confirm the broadcast was bogus…

  3. In other news the Shoggoth attack on the U.S. continues unabated.

    I, for one, welcome our new Shoggoth overlords. . .

  4. The announcement about zombies was FAKE?  So I don’t actually need all those weapons I stockpiled?  I blame the Liberal Media!

    1. More seriously, I remember the first time I heard an Emergency Broadcast System message that was Not A Drill.  It was probably about 1990, and they’d decided to start using the system for normal emergencies and not just nuclear war, so they were announcing flood warnings near the local river. 

      1. That’s odd.  The first time I recall having a real emergncy warning broadcast through EBS was in about 1979 for a tornado warning.  Do you not have violent weather where you live?

        1. We never had the EBS used for real emergencies in New England. Hurricanes and blizzards give plenty of notice.

          1. Indeed.  Tornadoes like to sneak up on us, thus the need for speedy and widely broadcast warnings.  

    2. Wow, for a moment I thought I had a reasonable explanation for the LAPD shooting the shit out of everything that moves in the last few days.

  5. Yow.  I assumed this was just an overlay on the station’s feed with an old EAS header, something that would only need access to a mixer.  Wouldn’t a zombie invasion rate a full screen warning instead of a ticker and a voiceover?

    How easy is it to decode the header?  

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