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Local Emergency Alert System Hacked, Warns Dead Rising From Graves

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the brains-delicious-brains dept.

Idle 235

First time accepted submitter Rawlsian writes "Great Falls, Montana, television station KRTC issued a denial of an Emergency Alert System report that 'dead bodies are rising from their graves.' The denial surmises that 'someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System...This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.'"

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Hurry (4, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867439)

Gotta get to the shopping mall. Stop at the sporting goods store and pick up some weapons and ammo. The zombies will feast on the easier targets for 30 days or so.

Re:Hurry (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867487)

forget that 30 day urban legend. it's whether or not the Tall Man is still around. and give priority to shooting down flying chrome balls over zombies.

"You think when you die, you go to heaven.......... You come to us! " -- the Tall Man

Re:Hurry (2)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867703)

And they said I was crazy preparing my zombie apocalypse survival kit.

Re:Hurry (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868155)

And they said I was crazy preparing my zombie apocalypse survival kit.

Hardly. Even the top levels of the US government recommend being prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse [cdc.gov] . I mean, this is the same group of folks that wants you to get a flu shot.

Re:Hurry (4, Funny)

egamma (572162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868177)

Even the top levels of the US government recommend being prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse [cdc.gov] . I mean, this is the same group of folks that wants you to get a flu shot.

And just where do you think zombies come from, hmm? You don't really think its from hell being full now, do you?

Re:Hurry (3)

RevSpaminator (1419557) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867667)

Time to get out the chainsaw and the sawed off shotgun!

Fleeing upwards (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867681)

And remember not to run up stairs to escape them, leaving you stranded on the roof like EVERY FUCKING MOVIE IN EXISTANCE.

Re:Fleeing upwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868185)

And remember not to run up stairs to escape them, leaving you stranded on the roof like EVERY FUCKING MOVIE IN EXISTANCE.

Yes, we should instead use the cellar. The cellar is the safest place.

Re:Fleeing upwards (1)

Molochi (555357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868321)

But if you can get them up stairs withith you you can outrun them downstairs... Oh wait that's bears and cows. Zombies you just walk away from.

I wanna do a movie where the survivors wear ripstop nylon (or something similar) to stop bites while they sleep and just out walk the zombies.

Re:Hurry (3, Informative)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867845)

All the stores are back-orderd on ammo.

typical. (5, Funny)

frovingslosh (582462) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868013)

First the undead rise from their graves. Then the establishment covers it up. And it's not a coincidence that there are shortages and limits on ammo.

You're Already Screwed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868415)

Didn't you know? There's been a run lately on guns and ammunition with all the talk about enacting stricter gun control laws. Many stores are out of stock. Best of luck dude!

Let me guess... (4, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867449)

Those systems that were never meant to go on the internet were somehow available on the internet? It's too bad some broadcast stations don't know when to air-gap

Re:Let me guess... (5, Informative)

JJJJust (908929) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867471)

If it was a Common Alerting Protocol-enabled system, it was entirely designed to be on the internet.

Re:Let me guess... (3, Insightful)

ljw1004 (764174) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867653)

You want to air-gap this system??!

so that when an emergency makes it impossible to travel by road, then someone has to travel by road to key in an alert about it?

Re:Let me guess... (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867687)

so that when an emergency makes it impossible to travel by road, then someone has to travel by road to key in an alert about it?

I dunno about other states, but I assume they are the same as here. We have a statewide network of stations who listen (via radio) to other stations to get their alert notifications. There are portal stations that get out-of-state alerts.

I think it was done this way to avoid issues of network (internet) outages preventing notices from going out. Of course, the last major test was an utter fail -- except in the eyes of those who think that finding out that the system was a failure at actually notifying anyone of anything is a "successful test result". A test that is successful in showing that a system is a complete failure means the system still failed miserably.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867877)

If there's an emergency, I would sure hope there's a method to access it that doesn't involve a trudge through snow n' stuff, but at the same time, there ought to be someone on site if it's really important. If JJJJust is right and this is a Common Alerting Protocol system, then it should have been secured better. We just don't know what the system in question was that allowed access into the broadcast yet.

Re:Let me guess... (4, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867813)

You don't need to be on the internet to have a "hack".

i.e. The road sign hack was actually funny the first time. :-)
https://www.google.com/search?q=l4d+road+sign+zombie+hack&tbm=isch [google.com]

Re:Let me guess... (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867861)

Ha! Priceless!

See, this is further proof, if there's an input of any sort, it needs be secured. Either by lock and key or through proper admin filtering (that's not taking into account social engineering, but I don't think they've come up with filtering for human thought yet... unless TV counts).

Re:Let me guess... (2)

HiThere (15173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868179)

IIRC, there was a story about a "Zombie Apocalapse" test message that was to be used on that net. I think the idea was supposed to be that it was so clearly a test message, that nobody would think it anything else.

This sounds like through some kind of glitch that message actually got released. There was probably no hacking involved.

Re:Let me guess... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868353)

Security isn't their main concern, because there are only two risks with hacking. The first is mischief like we see here, which isn't a big deal. The second is a DOS, which requires someone to have prior knowledge of a disaster and be sociopathic enough to disrupt the warning system. The chance of both conditions being true is negligible. Perhaps a terrorist would be interested, but I'm not quite sure how they could use it to their advantage.

find him, prosecute him (0)

Gabrill (556503) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867485)

The hacker needs his computer inventory confiscated and busted down to flip phone tech. This is no different than joyriding the fire trucks. The system is there for emergencies, and crap like this devalues it's emergency status.

Re:find him, prosecute him (5, Funny)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867523)

Nah, he did a community service by demonstrating the failure without starting a panic over a real possible event. No one should have believed it.. At least not anyone with half a BRAAAAAAAAAAIINSS!!!!

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867639)

Nah, he did a community service by demonstrating the failure without starting a panic over a real possible event. No one should have believed it.

How do you know it isn't real. Maybe the government ordered them to issue these denials to stop public disorder spreading in the wake of the Rapture? Huh?

Repent now sinner! Another hour and it may be too late.

Re:find him, prosecute him (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867757)

If Debbie Harry is out dropping rhymes again then the world really is coming to an end...

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Funny)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867641)

Obviously someone with half a brain should have believed it. Who else ate the missing half?

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Funny)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867773)

Hey, the CDC doesn't run zombie apocalypse drills for no reason

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868099)

But when the media does it, it's all fun and games right?
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/history/news-invasion-mars-one-greatest-radio-pranks-history

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867525)

Indeed

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867533)

find him, hire him

FTFY

Re:find him, prosecute him (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867537)

On the contrary.

This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed. It would have been much more harmful to send an alert about a more believable disaster. Can you imagine the panic if the hoax had been about rising floodwater, or an incoming storm or hurricane?

This hack has the benefit of exposing a weakness before it could be maliciously exploited, in probably the only way that guarantees action will be taken. As we've seen, being a good white-hat and reporting the potential security is likely to result in you being prosecuted, and the fault being swept under the carpet.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

noobermin (1950642) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867585)

It didn't end in disaster, but it really could have been worse. Some people rely on warning systems like this...think of, for example, tornado warning systems.
I'll admit, I laughed, and I do agree; it pointed out a weakness in the system that shouldn't have been there. Still, the right thing to do is to stop the culture of encouraging grey hat behavior by rewarding people who find weaknesses...rather than simply condoning them.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867915)

well what we do now is imprison them/ruin their careers, thus when they get out of jail after 20 years, the only thing left is to become a paid black hat for hire. ex-con murderers have an easier time of it..

gotta love laws written by ivy league lawyers who were ex popular-jocks in highschool.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867593)

This hack has the benefit of exposing a weakness before it could be maliciously exploited, in probably the only way that guarantees action will be taken.

Sooo..Thanks China?

Re:find him, prosecute him (5, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867595)

Not cause any harm? It won't be so funny when the dead start rising from the grave and no one believes it because this guy cried wolf already! Thousands of people will disregard the warning and subsequently get their brains eaten! It won't seem so fun then!

Re:find him, prosecute him (3, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867867)

All they would have had to do was walk a little bit faster!

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867655)

This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed.

I doubt that. If you are referring to the local officials who implemented the system or maintain it, then no, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They didn't design the system, they just installed what was compatible with everyone else. Those who designed the system will probably not be overly embarrassed, either.

I doubt you're referring to the prankster, who certainly won't be embarrassed at all, even though such public displays should be embarrassing to him. It's like finding a mailing list and sending a bunch of spam to it to prove how insecure it is; annoying everyone on the list who can do nothing about it and really changing nothing.

The only likely result of this will be a confirmation in the minds of the public that hackers are nutcases who need to be put in jail for doing stupid things, not a sudden realization that hackers are here to save us from our mistakes.

Your thinking is entirely backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868461)

You really think that the people who designed this system meant for it to be this accessible? Seriously? I most sincerely doubt it, this is most likely the result of poor security choices, perhaps even as simple as using a weak password, by those local officials you placed on a pedestal.

What you had to say was naive, nigh propagandist-level. How you got "insightful", I'll never know.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867657)

Yeah, the tax payer money is so better spent on child proofing things.

Just think of how many billions of tax payers $$$$ are wasted each year simply because some one wants to be a wanker.

And then they will create yet more laws which removes even more rights we used to have simply because someone wanted to be a wanker.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

FranklinWebber (1307427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867695)

>This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm...

Isn't that just what CBS executives said before airing War of the Worlds?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Worlds_(radio) [wikipedia.org]

Re:find him, prosecute him (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867797)

Later studies suggested the panic was less widespread than newspapers had indicated at the time. During this period, many newspaper publishers were concerned that radio, a new medium, would render them obsolete. In that time of yellow journalism, print journalists took the opportunity to suggest that radio was dangerous by embellishing the story of the panic that ensued

The parallels almost write themselves...

Re:find him, prosecute him (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867769)

As we've seen, being a good white-hat and reporting the potential security is likely to result in you being prosecuted, and the fault being swept under the carpet.

I tried that. I reported to a school that they put social security number together with full name, address etc on a html page, made it accessible without logging in and they transferred it without any encryption. It looked it they made a page for each student and then emailed the student in question the URL to their "personal page". I ended up talking to some lady, who went "only criminals would detect such flaws. You must be a hacker. I'm calling the police right away". They didn't dare to keep the page up when I kept a cool head and said I would report it for privacy violation if they didn't remove it.

Two mysteries remains though:
1: why send a mail with a personal link to a page containing only stuff, which could be written in the mail
2: why send out "your daughter's name is.. and is born on ... and lives...". I kind of knew that even before they decided to tell me.

Oh and in case you wonder. Their "security" is that the personal URL contained a hash value. Nobody would be able to guess a hash value and get info on a stranger, right?

Re:find him, prosecute him (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867829)

Nobody would be able to guess a hash value and get info on a stranger, right?

Actually, yeah. That's pretty much the exact function of a properly constructed cryptographic hash function.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868139)

Somehow I doubt the person who implemented it knows what 'cryptographic' means.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867873)

This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed.

No one is cutting the hacker any slack anymore,

Prankster. White Hat, Black Hat, No one gives a damn about his motives, No one shares his sense of humor

Break into a system meant for emergency use only and the hammer will come down.

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867885)

Break into a system meant for emergency use only and the hammer will come down.

Fine. But it should come down equally as hard, if not more so, on those who accepted public money to build a secure system and failed to do so. Anything else is scapegoating.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868087)

But it should come down equally as hard, if not more so, on those who accepted public money to build a secure system

First you need to know if that is what they were paid to do or not. What was the intended level of security and did they meet that requirement? "Oh noes, a hacker broke in and made a fake announcement!" Was preventing that part of the original requirements? Easy to see in 20/20 hindsight.

And second, the people who accepted the money to build the system locally didn't design it or generate the requirements. They got money to buy something that worked with everything else being used. They could have refused to buy anything that wasn't secured better than everything else, but then they'd not be getting any alerts from anyone because their system would not be interoperable.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868133)

First you need to know if that is what they were paid to do or not. What was the intended level of security and did they meet that requirement? "Oh noes, a hacker broke in and made a fake announcement!" Was preventing that part of the original requirements?

Then the person who wrote the requirements should get hit with the hammer. An attacker compromised your system - sometime, somewhere, someone dropped the ball.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

dfn5 (524972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867923)

This is an obvious prank, and is unlikely to cause any harm, except to embarrass those who ought to be embarrassed. It would have been much more harmful to send an alert about a more believable disaster.

Such as an invasion from Mars?

Re:find him, prosecute him (2)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868285)

Being a good guy white-hat doesn't get you arrested. Not realizing the difference between telling someone "Hey your door is open" from the outside of their house and saying "Hey your door is open from in someone's bedroom" is what gets you arrested. Well that and the kind of self righteous attitude that makes "white hats" believe that if a vulnerability isn't fixed within a day of them having reported it they have the right to take down the system or reveal said vulnerability to the world. In other words, the fact that I have forgotten to lock my door doesn't give you the right to enter my house and if you do so, even to tell me that I've forgotten to lock my door you aren't a "good guy", not even if you have some of your stuff in my house.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868399)

It would have been much more harmful to send an alert about a more believable disaster. Can you imagine the panic if the hoax had been about rising floodwater, or an incoming storm or hurricane?

Panic? Not really. Everyone in the flood plain just goes to higher ground, and will be rather annoyed upon learning it was a false alarm. A hurricane warning in Montana would raise a few eyebrows, but shouldn't incite a public panic. Storms, I wouldn't really consider worthy of a warning, but people would just stay inside.

Now, perhaps my experience is different having lived in a rural area with occasional extreme weather and weekly power outages. I couldn't imagine someone being injured by acting upon any conceivable warning, because most adults have learned to not injure themselves by staying inside or driving away from their home. If city dwellers are prone to panicking and crushing people, then a) your population density is far too high, and b) that's natural selection and inevitable (i.e. it was going to happen on the next alert, real or not).

Re:find him, prosecute him (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867549)

You realize that this site is full of people who support Aaron Swartz, Julian Assange, Chris Dorner, Bradley Manning, Adam Lanza, etc?

Re:find him, prosecute him (2, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867559)

Who the hell on this site supported Adam Lanza?

Re:find him, prosecute him (1, Offtopic)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867615)

Who the hell on this site supported Adam Lanza?

Or Chris Dorner for that matter? You know if I didn't know better I'd suspect that AC was trying the cheap propaganda trick of linking the names Aaron Swartz, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, (who, whether we agree with of their actions or not, we ought to recognise as men of high ideals), with those of crazy mass murderers?! But no, my friend AC would never do that kind of thing.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867777)

my friend AC would never do that kind of thing.

Thanks, bro. Good to know you have my back.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0, Troll)

Enderandrew (866215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867837)

Assange is charged with rape and his best friend wrote a tell-all book that is pretty damning. He was also ripped by Amnesty International for endangering innocent volunteers. People close to him said he was motivated purely by money.

Yep, Assange we can recognize as a man of high ideals just because he criticized people we don't like.

Why is it that no one is praising groups like Amnesty International who also expose government corruption? They literally champion for human rights, get involved, operate as a non-profit, and enact positive change in the world without breaking laws?

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867891)

Assange is charged with rape

That's news to me.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867907)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_Authority [wikipedia.org]

Assange fled Sweden rather than defend himself against the charges.

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Informative)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868043)

I find nothing in that citation to indicate that Assange has been charged with any offence. On the contrary and to quote directly: "Assange has not yet been formally charged with any offence."

Re:find him, prosecute him (4, Informative)

Faluzeer (583626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868265)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assange_v_Swedish_Prosecution_Authority [wikipedia.org]

Assange fled Sweden rather than defend himself against the charges.

Hmmm

Except that is not correct, he did not flee, he left Sweden legally. It was only after he had left Sweden that the new prosecutor issued a new arrest warrant.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867983)

Yeah he's charged with rape because the US government decided to get sweden pay a few skanks to 'come forward.' It's been done before..

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867875)

Aaron Swartz, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, (who, whether we agree with of their actions or not, we ought to recognise as men of high ideals),

Well, one out of three, anyway.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867899)

Well, one out of three, anyway.

Lemme guess ... Bradley?

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867637)

You need your keyboard confiscated and issued a new one without an apostrophe key since obviously the mind-boggling concept that it's means it is is beyond you.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867749)

Be grateful it wasn't a hacker on the payroll of the Chinese government. You wouldn't even know the system could be hacked until the moment Chinese paratroopers started dropping from the sky. You'd be sitting in your shelter waiting for the hurricane to pass and the Chinese would only need to put a padlock on the doors and walk away. Thanks to this prankster the issue will be patched, which probably wouldn't happen if the hacker openly approached the KRTV. I've seen it many times: "Really? A vulnerability? I our system!? Well then we better fix it right away! Now go home and play some console games and let the grown-ups do their job... that is, after we've had our morning coffee and cigarettes... for the next 6 months... after which we'll just forget about the whole thing"

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868231)

Here it is folks, proof positive that methamphetamine is bad for you.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867779)

Hahahahaha you've obviously never signed up for one of these, I'm on the Montgomery County and the College Park Maryland alert things. You get a bagillion of these a day about tiny little things that don't concern you.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867831)

Agreed next time I see an emergency alert that Z-Day is upon us I am totally going to ignore it because I have been desensitized.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867857)

cry more you bitch.. There are too many wannabe insecure tyrants like yourself in this society who are cheering on the big ones.. It was a harmless prank that deserves a slap on the wrist at best. It doesn't even sound like it was a denial of service, nor was the context of the message believable by any stretch.

Get a grip.

Re:find him, prosecute him (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867917)

Little do you know. This was done with a flip phone and a whistle.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868313)

Our government must maintain their monopoly on frightening the public and driving them into a mindless panic.

Re:find him, prosecute him (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868419)

Agreed. The zombies thing is so obvious as to be wallowing in complete and utter lameness. I recommend caning, BTW.

OTOH, if he'd come up with something a bit more original and suited to the season... say, an invasion of Frost Giants...

You can't buy publicity like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867495)

Sounds like a guerilla and somewhat illegal promo for The Walking Dead.

Capture of the broadcast (5, Informative)

beanfeast (125905) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867497)

Supposedly this is the capture of the hacked broadcast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc60XPCXrh8 [youtube.com]

Re:Capture of the broadcast (3, Informative)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868409)

I've found several videos of the alert during 2-3 different shows at YouTube (today's uploads: 'emergency zombie alert system' [youtube.com] ) but haven't seen any that actually mention the zombies in the on-screen alert yet...they all just say that there's a civil emergency without mentioning what it is.

Helena too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867527)

KXLH in Helena reported the same,
http://www.kxlh.com/news/bogus-emergency-alert-message-transmitted/
they may be sister stations that share an EAS infrastructure?

Re:Helena too (4, Informative)

sunderland56 (621843) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867977)

All stations share their EAS infrastructure. The largest stations get their data direct; smaller stations get it from larger ones. All stations need to have at least two different data sources set up. It is actually a reasonably well set up topology, and it is tested on a very regular basis.

The FCC also imposes strict fines on anyone who fails a test; the base fine for a violation is $8,000 and is scaled up for repeat or blatant violations.

How the FCC handles fines in this case will be interesting. The EAS system is designed for speed and reliability, not for security; there is message validation built in to prevent unintentional activation, but a correctly-formatted bogus message inserted into the system will propogate as designed.

Primitive Tech (4, Informative)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867573)

It's been a few years since I worked down there, but EAS always seemed like pretty primitive tech. One of the last remaining bastions of serial printer ports as I recall. It is (or was a few years ago) ugly, annoying, tended to chop the ends off of messages, and many of the weather service alerts either were for somewhere entirely remote from us, or were so garbled that they were incomprehensible.

I'm entirely unsurprised that it's easy to hack in to EAS.

Re:Primitive Tech (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868479)

It's all in-band signalling, right? What could possible go wrong.

yeah right (5, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867587)

This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency

those are some wily zombies

RESULT !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867635)

Stupid American Fundies top themselves becuase they cant believe they were left behind and fear what was comming.
Nothing of any value was lost.

Great... (4, Funny)

runeghost (2509522) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867643)

Now when the REAL zombie apocalypse arrives, everyone will assume it's just another prank...

Re:Great... (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868041)

too late.. all those zombie movies have already desensitized us.. we should ban all zombie movies! ...just in case.. you know, for the children?

Cover up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867661)

So, Umbrella is already covering it up.

Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867669)

Be warned: the original report was genuine. The denial is issued by zombies.

Signed:
The Anti Zombie protection league

Can't Stop the Signal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867675)

You can't stop the signal. You can never... stop... the signal.

Re:Can't Stop the Signal. (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868071)

"Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Don't be alarmed."

Full Recording of the Alert on KRTV (5, Informative)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867775)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I28e0IqIgPc [youtube.com] -- KRTV out of Great Falls, Montana.

Re:Full Recording of the Alert on KRTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867911)

Pancakes! Pancakes! Pancakes!

Gentle reminder about security (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867803)

I think these gentle reminders about security are great and are part of the spirit of hacking.

Which would the USA rather have: (a) goofball hackers create a zombie panic, or (b) our next enemy uses a coordinated attack to create actual panic?

Reminds me of the infamous "War of the Worlds" broadcast by Orson Welles. [wikipedia.org]

Giant Balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42867841)

Someone has some giant balls. This is pretty funny actually. I just hope no one gets hurt that was innocent. I don't care if assholes die though. :)

I don't know... (1)

s.t.a.l.k.e.r._loner (2591761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42867927)

"This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency."

Uh huh. I'm not falling for their cover-up!

The hackers must have been hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868001)

Somebody must have changed the date on the hackers' machines to April 1st...

It has always been this way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868053)

In fairness, it has always been possible to cry wolf. We try not to put security validation in the middle of high stress emergency situations. If you call some place and tell them there is a bomb, they will bring in the police and bomb squad to investigate, no matter whether they think it is real or not. On a firing range ANYONE can call cease fire. Anyone can call 911. Anyone can get on aviation's 121.5 "guard" channel to call for help.

But if you are crying wolf, you can expect to pay a heavy price for your behavior. People take this stuff seriously, no matter what it is, no matter who is calling.

It may seem funny that someone discovered how to make a phony zombie attack on the EAS, but believe me, the authorities aren't laughing.

This is one instance where it is probably legitimate to go easy on the security posturing and consider that when you are up to your ass in alligators you are not going to remember a password or find a key you haven't used in months.

It's just another sign of the Zombie Apocalypse. (2)

laxr5rs (2658895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868107)

When the Zombies do come, there's no real point in fighting or running, eventually they will win.

'When You Start Me Up' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42868137)

A back line in the Stones 'Start Me Up' goes:

'U Make A Dead Man Cum'.

Guess there is a foul oder in the air at Great Falls, Montana this night. :D

Well done (1)

thelexx (237096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868181)

And tsk, tsk. What can I say, it's a battle between the young and the old internal geeks.

I also note sadly to myself that my old geek would scold, while the current enforcement mindset would encourage terrorist charges. And also noting that the fact that I would even _think about that_ is fucking sad.

Re:Well done (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868435)

Guess my inner geek is still young, as I thought it was quite amusing, as was one comment to a YouTube video of the alert begging "please someone hack into Fox News to do this on Easter!"

Astonishing news! (5, Funny)

nigelo (30096) | about a year and a half ago | (#42868335)

Amazing that this got through to the front page of /. in the same week that it happened!

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