Protecting Stations From Cyber Attack

This week, the US Government issued warnings to all American companies about looming cybersecurity threats tied to the current political climate with Russia.
The VAB advises all Vermont broadcasters to assume they remain a high-profile target subject to cyber attacks. Broadcasters are already on the front lines of cybersecurity warfare. In recent weeks, Russian state-run media has been hacked multiple times. There’s no reason the reverse couldn’t happen here.
Even without this warning, many broadcasters both large and small have been plagued by cybercriminal issues over the past year.
The US Government advises eight key steps that all businesses should take immediately to protect themselves from any pressing threat. We’re sharing those tips below, advising all broadcasters to give them careful review and linking here the US Government guidance.


1.  Mandate the use of multi-factor authentication for all computer/system logins to make it harder for attackers to get onto your system.
2.  Deploy modern security tools on your computers and devices to continuously look for and mitigate threats (virus software, security updates).
3.  Check with your cybersecurity professionals to make sure that your systems are patched and protected against all known vulnerabilities, and change passwords across your networks so that previously stolen credentials are useless to malicious actors.
4.  Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors.
5.  Run exercises and drill your emergency plans so that you are prepared to respond quickly to minimize the impact of any attack. This is especially key for broadcasters in case your signal is hacked.
6.  Encrypt your data so it cannot be used if it is stolen.
7.  Educate your employees to common tactics that attackers will use over email or through websites, and encourage them to report if their computers or phones have shown unusual behavior, such as unusual crashes or operating very slowly.
8.  Engage proactively with your local FBI field office or CISA Regional Office to establish relationships in advance of any cyber incidents. Please encourage your IT and Security leadership to visit the websites of the FBI and CISA where they will find technical information and other useful resources.
The United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has aso launched a new “Shields Up” resource page with detailed guidance for businesses to consider.
In addition, The NAB has made various cybersecurity resources available.

NAB Podcast Highlights Quick Tips for Cybersecurity following Government Warning

Kelly Williams, VP of Engineering and Technology Policy of the National Association of Broadcasters, has some timely advice for broadcasters regarding the security of their broadcast infrastructure.  This 15-minute podcast is worth a listen, as you work to strengthen your information technology infrastructure to resist attacks from outsiders: