|MAB Tracking Emergency Alert Hackers|
Michigan Association of Broadcasters CEO Karole White, EAS Chairman Larry Estlack and two of MAB members are working closely with Michigan State Police, the Federal Communications Commission, the FBI and Homeland Security as they track down the hackers who managed to gain unauthorized access to the Emergency Alert Systems of two television stations in the Upper Peninsula Monday afternoon.
The so-called “zombie-alert” – a fake Emergency Alert notice warning people to beware of zombies – hit the airwaves on WNMU and WBUP television in Marquette around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. The hackers also infiltrated stations in Montana, New Mexico and California. The false alert caused a few chuckles but also generated calls to 911 and to local law enforcement.
“This is a serious federal offense that we are not taking lightly,” said White, whose association represents the broadcasting industry throughout the state. “We have not only identified the source, but we have also made immediate fixes to address the situation. The false alert was local and did not infiltrate the statewide EAS system.
White also indicated the association and its members are working closely with the FCC to identify and rectify any long-term issues that may need to be addressed. We believe the perpetrator gained access through a security back door. All Michigan Broadcasters have been advised to change their passwords on the EAS equipment.
The UP hacking follows a number of hacking incidents, including the New York Times, the US Justice Department, and the Federal Reserve. The incident is yet another reminder of the need for everyone to stay safe and secure online. The Michigan Association of Broadcasters encourages all Michiganders to regularly change their passwords.