'Attacking the living' zombies hack into EAS system

POSTED: 5:49 PM Feb 13 2013
EAS Test
ABILENE, Texas -

Zombies: they're the subject of popular TV shows, movies and even here in the Big Country.

Zombies have made it to Buffalo Gap. They appeared along the runner’s path for the 5K. But recently, a zombie alert came to life through the Emergency Alert System at a TV station in Montana and several others around the country.

One engineer we spoke with said sometimes it’s as simple as changing your password so hackers don't get into your system and broadcast "dead bodies are rising from the grave."

They said hackers broke into the Emergency Alert System of Great Falls affiliate KRTV and its CW station.

It broadcasted that "the dead bodies are rising from their graves" in several counties.  

The alert claimed the bodies were "attacking the living" and warned people not to approach or apprehend these bodies.

"Any misuse of the EAS system can turn into something very serious," Town Square Media Engineer Chris Andrews said.

Chris Andrews who's an engineer for different radio stations in the Abilene area works with the EAS System. He said it could be as simple as a password.

"Either the default password was still set on the equipment or they knew the password and it wasn't changed," Andrews said.   

The hoax alert generated a handful of calls to police to see if it was true. The EAS Alert System is used for weather warnings, Amber Alerts and other emergencies. 

"Anybody can get hacked at anytime,” Andrews said. “The biggest defense against that is to change your password."

One of the news stations that was hacked is working with the Federal Communications Commission, local and state law enforcement and cyber security experts to investigate.

The manufacturer of the EAS equipment has been contacted to evaluate the incident.