Hackers Broadcast Zombie Alerts over Emergency Alert System

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Earlier this month, residents of Great Falls, Montana were shocked to hear a zombie alert message broadcast over local CBS affiliate KRTV.

According to Great Falls Tribune, “The alert featured a scrolling warning for various Montana counties and a voice-over claimed there were “dead bodies rising from the grave and attacking the living” and urged people to use caution. “Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous,” it went on to say.”

The hoax, which is believed to have been orchestrated by hackers working overseas, reached around 10 television stations via the Emergency Alert System, a “national public warning system that requires broadcasters … to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency.”

According to Cynthia Thompson of WBUP ABC 10 in northern Michigan, a “back-door” attack allowed the hacker to access the security of the Emergency Alert System equipment.

Although this most recent hacking incident may have been light-hearted, it raises concerns and highlights the increasing importance of comprehensive digital security in the emergency notification industry. Organizations that use ENS solutions usually do so during sensitive situations in which the reliability and accuracy of messages paramount. Enhanced security options such as two-factor authentication and digital signatures can both reassure recipients of the sender’s identity and prevent false alerts from going out.

When it comes to emergency communication and the distribution of sensitive information through online channels, you can never be too serious about information security. At Send Word Now, we know how important it is for our customers to be able to authenticate themselves in multiple ways. That’s why we offer state-of-the-art two-factor authentication and digital signature features within our secure messaging platform.

The Send Word Now two-factor authentication feature is one of our favorite security features. With this feature enabled, users are required to authenticate themselves in two ways in order to log in to our service. Along with the standard username and password, users must input a random number that is refreshed every few seconds by a unique hardware token. For customers in industries that protect sensitive data, we recommend this feature for additional security and peace of mind.

To learn more about all of our security policies, you can also read our featured white paper, Security Matters: Every Layer of Protection Counts.