Zombie prank prompts FCC to warn cable operators, TV stations to protect Emergency Alert System

The FCC told TV stations and cable operators nationwide to change passwords on their Emergency Alert Systems after a hacking incident Monday saw at least three stations broadcast warnings about attacks by zombies.

Last year, the FCC began requiring cable operators and other EAS participants to install new equipment that allowed for the delivery of Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) messages. New FCC rules require EAS participants to wire their systems to broadband Internet connections, which may have allowed hackers to crack the systems at CBS affiliate KRTV in Great Falls, Mont., and Marquette, Mich.-based CW affiliate WBKP-TV and PBS affiliate WNMU-TV.

The message that ran on KRTV (and later posted on YouTube) said: "Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Follow the messages on screen that will be updated as information becomes available. Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies, as they are considered extremely dangerous."

In response to the hacking incident, the FCC issued an "urgent advisory" to EAS participants on Tuesday, reminding them to reset passwords and place CAP equipment behind firewalls.

For more:
- CommLawBlog has this post
TVNewscheck has this story

Related articles:
Glitches hit national test of Emergency Alert System
FCC: Cablevision's Bresnan system monitored wrong Emergency Alert System channel
GAO to review National Emergency Alert System test
FCC: Cable operators have until June 30 to comply with Emergency Alert System protocol