Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Current events discussions relating to Broadcast Engineering
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rockmanac
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How does this even happen?

Post by rockmanac » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:03 pm

Montana TV station is claiming their EAS got "hacked' and that's how a bogus "Local Area Emergency" got on-air. (video via Gawker)

So. Knowing (mostly) how EAS works....I'm trying to figure out how this would have happened. Because if it didn't originate in their building as they claim, that means someone would have to, and correct me if I'm wrong, taken over the frequency of the LP1, LP2 or NOAA WX Radio in their area and had the proper equipment to generate the EAS message. And if they did that, how was it that KRTV was the only station affected? (Or at least was the only station to acknowledge it online.)

I wish the video clip Gawker posted had the whole message.
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Baylink
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Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by Baylink » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:18 pm

Apparently, the zombies are escalating. They've moved on from road signs to EAS alerts:

http://www.startribune.com/nation/190769241.html

KRTV got bit.

Can unauthorized users get into *your* EAS endec? Tried a pen test?

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Re: How does this even happen?

Post by Baylink » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:20 pm

Well, I'm assuming their upstream is FM; presumably you could capture the receiver if you knew where it was, and could aim enough power at it... assuming you didn't desense it.

I hadn't seen this before I just posted a story about it in News.

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Re: How does this even happen?

Post by rockmanac » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:43 pm

Baylink wrote:I hadn't seen this before I just posted a story about it in News.
Well.... I just tried to merge my thread and yours, so we'd have one topic...and I think I messed something up. Oops.
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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by Baylink » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:47 pm

Nope, it looks merged, it just interleaved the posts, instead of gluing one on the end of the other.

It's ok; it kept my title. :-)

(On further inspection, it's very amusingly like a corporate merger; it took my title, and started with your post.)

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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by techboywi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:03 am

This happened in Northern MI too. I can't find the link now, but the rest ran on WNMU Ch 13 in Marquette, MI
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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by KPJL FM » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:25 am

I saw that a DASDEC unit was hacked via the internet, the hackers used the defaul factory passcodes to gain access and generate the alert.
We ALL have to change passwords today........ even if they're not the defaults, sit behind firewalls, on non-routable sub-nets, etc....
Trim to fit, paint to match, tune for minimum smoke.

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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by techboywi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:35 am

Heres the link to northern MI EAS hack:http://www.miningjournal.net/page/conte ... l?nav=5006
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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by RFWarrior » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:06 am

Favourite part was the last line of the Star Tribune article... "The Great Falls Tribune reports the hoax alert generated at least four calls to police to see if it was true."

:lol:
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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by rockmanac » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:48 am

RFWarrior wrote:Favourite part was the last line of the Star Tribune article... "The Great Falls Tribune reports the hoax alert generated at least four calls to police to see if it was true."

:lol:
Oh Mabel! Git the guns! Zombies!

... probably the other response to that.



So when did EAS add the internet as part of the loop? It's been several years since I've had to deal with EAS.
Addie Chernow
Director, WCCO-TV
WWW - @chernowa - KC9JHY

Formerly:
OverDrive Operator, WKOW-TV
Director/Technical Director, WKOW-TV
Director/MCO, WREX-TV

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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by techboywi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:02 am

rockmanac wrote:
So when did EAS add the internet as part of the loop? It's been several years since I've had to deal with EAS.

I believe the Internet part is related to CAP...not a engineer, so I could be off on that.
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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by Baylink » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:11 am

Well, Adam, they're trying to get to where they can use the internet for end-user delivery, as I understand it, but I wasn't aware they were trying to use it for transport, myself; it's unreliable, in the sense that matters here.

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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by Baylink » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:15 am

Ok, so we have two stations in Michigan and one in Montana, with substantially similar messages about Zombies.

My first reaction, from the 20 year old in me, says "Cool!"

Then the 50 year old kicks in, and I say, not "what if people stop listening to EAS Alerts because of this", cause even I don't think the public is that stupid...

but "what if they'd decided to say 'terrorists have released a bioagent into the city water supply"?

It may seem low priority, but I don't think it is; we need to prioritize finding all the possible holes in EAS transport, pretty quickly. Guess what: that's not a job for RF engineers. :-}

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NPR has picked this up now

Post by Baylink » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:20 am

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013 ... is-not-a-h

Happily, even the original piece was a 'bright', as you can tell from playing the audio linked from here:

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/12/171782346 ... ng-zombies

...but Bruce Schneier will probably have a piece on this in his security column this week.
Last edited by Baylink on Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Warning! Zombies ahead!! RUN!!!

Post by grich » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:24 am

I don't know what has me more upset...the hackers, or the idiots at NBC News, who ran the data bursts and attention tone on the air during the Today Show this morning. :evil:

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