FCC Releases Proposal for Improving EAS, WEA Security
Thursday, October 27, 2022 | Comments

The FCC proposed rules to bolster the operational readiness and security of the nation’s public alert and warning systems, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). These systems warn the public about emergencies through alerts on their televisions, radios, and wireless phones.

In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) adopted at the commission’s October 27 meeting, the commission proposed:
• Protecting against cyberattacks by requiring EAS participants, such as broadcasters and cable providers, to report incidents of unauthorized access to their EAS equipment to the commission within 72 hours. This would allow the commission to work with participants and other government agencies to resolve an equipment compromise before it is exploited to send false alerts.
• Promoting security by requiring EAS participants and the wireless providers that deliver WEA to annually certify that they have a cybersecurity risk management plan and implement sufficient security measures for their alerting systems.
• Guarding against false alerts by requiring participating wireless providers to transmit sufficient authentication information to ensure that only valid alerts are displayed on consumer devices.

The notice of proposed rulemaking also seeks comment on the effectiveness of the agency’s current requirements for ensuring that EAS equipment is ready to transmit alerts, and whether there are any alternative approaches that improve readiness. In addition, it refreshes the record on the commission’s prior proposal to clarify that the agency’s WEA functionality requirements are not optional for wireless providers that voluntarily choose to deliver those alerts.

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