FCC Urges EAS Participants to Secure Equipment
Tuesday, August 09, 2022 | Comments

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) advised communications providers that participate in the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to take steps to secure their EAS equipment against risks impacting devices that are publicly accessible from the internet.

On August 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an advisory on a potential vulnerability in certain EAS encoder/decoder devices that have not been updated to most recent software versions. FEMA observed that if EAS devices are not up-to-date, an unauthorized actor could issue EAS alerts over the EAS participant’s infrastructure.

EAS participants must ensure that their EAS equipment’s monitoring and transmitting functions are available whenever the stations and systems are operating. PSHSB has previously warned EAS participants about this vulnerability and encouraged them to secure their EAS equipment by installing current security patches and using firewalls. The bureau again urges all EAS participants, regardless of the make and model of their EAS equipment, to upgrade their equipment software and firmware to the most recent versions recommended by the manufacturer and secure their equipment behind a properly configured firewall as soon as possible.

In addition, the bureau urged EAS participants to take the following steps to improve their cyber hygiene:
• Install software security patches issued by the manufacturer as soon as they become available.
• Change default passwords.
• Continually monitor EAS equipment and software and review audit logs to detect and report incidents of unauthorized access.
• Review the list of recommended best practices to address potential data security vulnerabilities issued by the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) in 2014.

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