Fake EAS Message Warns of Zombie Apocalypse
Feb 11, 2013 10:55 PM
Great Falls, MT - Feb 11, 2013 - KRTV-TV broadcast a bogus EAS message that said "the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Do not attempt to apprehend or approach these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous." It appears that someone accessed an EAS unit via its Internet connection and created the false message. While details of the hack are being uncovered, it's believed a station may have left an EAS unit's factory default password in place, simplifying the effort of the hacker.
The audio in the message also told TV viewers to tune to 920 AM for more information because the TV station was going to cease transmission. 920 AM is KWYS-AM in West Yellowstone, MT.
Discussion on the Society of Broadcast Engineers EAS email list says a similar hack was attempted in Salt Lake City, UT, where the message was relayed via several stations.
Other reports reveal the bogus test was also issued in Michigan via WNMU-TV and WBUP-TV.
Richard Rudman posted to the SBE list that he was contacted by the FCC, which is now actively investigating the matter.
Here's the data decoded from the falsified alert:
ZCZC-CIV-LAE-030077-030007-030043-030049-030059+0015-0422133-KRTV/CW -_ __ _
CIV - Originator ID for a Civil Authority
LAE - Local Area Emergency
FIPS 030077 - Powell County, MT
FIPS 030007 - Broadwater County, MT
FIPS 030043 - Jefferson County, MT
FIPS 030049 - Lewis and Clark County, MT
FIPS 030059 - Meagher County. MT
The FCC wants all stations to change the passwords on their EAS units from the default factory settings....
Submit written proposals by March 15, 2013....
Commissioner Ajit Pai, who has expressed special interest in the future of AM radio, will moderate a panel of AM radio leaders, engineers and policy experts....