Cybersecurity

Emergency Alert System Vulnerable to Hacking

Potential "War of the Worlds" moment coming

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Hackers could have a field day with the Emergency Alert System (EAS), thanks to vulnerabilities with equipment used to transmit the alerts, according to a new report.

According to Seattle-based IOActive, the systems that intercept emergency messages from federal officials and then interrupt regular broadcasts to transmit the message—known as DASDEC—are susceptible to cyber attacks.

"These DASDEC application servers are currently shipped with their root privileged SSH key as part of the firmware update package," Mike Davis, principal research scientist for IOActive, said in a statement. "This key allows an attacker to remotely log on in over the Internet and can manipulate any system function."

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