SBE EAS Advisory Group Publishes EAS Security Notes

Prepared by the SBE EAS Advisory Group

Intrusions into computerized equipment have been around since the internet became a reality years ago. It is no surprise to broadcast engineers that these invasions have made their way into radio and television stations.

Most recently, EAS devices have been a major target. To comply with FCC rules, these devices must have internet access to receive information from FEMA via IPAWS.

Security for EAS and other station devices should be a high priority for station engineers. As a result, the SBE EAS Advisory group has put together a basic security guidelines summary to aid stations in assuring that all equipment is protected from these outside intrusions.

Summary

Every week, broadcasters like you are having their station equipment and computers hacked or tampered with by outsiders or malware infections that affect station computers and networks. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, the odds are unfortunately high that it eventually will happen.

These types of intrusions are more than an inconvenience. It can cost you to repair the systems that were compromised. It can cost you revenue for lost airtime. It can cost you credibility in your audience and community. Moreover, it eventually will cost all of us if the government feels it necessary to step in with additional regulations and requirements on broadcasters.

At the same time, it’s challenging for many broadcasters to keep up with the wide range of potential cyberattacks. Many broadcasters don’t know they have become vulnerable to attackers until it’s too late.
To help broadcasters address this growing concern, we have compiled some tips and best practices on how to keep your operation from falling prey to cybercrime. The bottom line:
• Know your Systems. Know what is connected to the network and the internet: at the office, studio, transmitter site, and remotes. If it’s connected, it is at risk.
• Defend your Network. Anything that is connected to your network or the internet must be behind a firewall.
• Protect your Equipment. Change default passwords. Change default usernames. Regularly check for and install any software upgrades or patches for equipment.
• Use Common Sense with Email and the Internet. Be cautious about opening email attachments or downloading from websites you don’t completely trust. Harmful malware can enter your station, and do significant damage to your business.
What is the problem?

Recent events had plainly shown that broadcasters are a low-hanging fruit for internet mischief-makers and cybercriminals. All too frequently, this involves key station equipment and computers left vulnerable to the internet, not changing default passwords, or even not having passwords at all.

The results have included the entire programming stream disrupted by IP streamers redirected to offensive, political and/or obscene content, the issuance of false or simulated EAS messages, the creation of fake messages and alerts via RDS encoders, the wholesale disruption of station operations when computers are locked via malware and viruses, and more. These are issues that have already happened, repeatedly.

In many cases, the threats boil down to simple vulnerabilities that could have been easily addressed beforehand.
• Stations with unconfigured firewalls – or even no firewalls.
• Station equipment left exposed and unprotected to the open internet.
• Station equipment left with default or easily guessable passwords – or even no passwords.
• Email attachments open, which introduced malware across the station network.

Presenting the potential for reaching a wide audience with inappropriate or political content, broadcasters present an irresistible opportunity for internet bad guys. Some broadcasters have opined that cybersecurity is too expensive or difficult. However, as we outline below, broadcasters can take preventative steps that are often a minimal expense – or no expense at all.

The technical solutions:

• Know Your Systems. Know what systems are connected to your network and to the internet, and know which systems should not be. If it is connected to the network, it’s going to need to be protected. This applies to looking at your systems throughout your operation. This includes the business office, studios, transmitter sites, remote control points, and other remote sites.
• Firewalls to Defend Your Network. The one security item every company needs is a firewall, a security appliance that attaches to your network and acts as the protective shield between the outside world and your wired and/or wireless network. A firewall continuously inspects traffic and matches it against a set of predesigned rules. If the traffic qualifies as safe, it’s allowed onto your network. If the traffic is questionable, the firewall blocks it and stops an attack before it enters your network. Just about anything in your broadcast facility should be behind a firewall if it is on your network, or going to be connected to the internet. Properly configure your firewall, make sure any software or firmware is up to date, and don’t leave ports open.
• Equipment Passwords and Account Management. Equipment in your station may come with a default password. You are urged to change default passwords on any equipment in your operation. If there are accounts or usernames on equipment that are default, or unused, you should also change or delete these. And remember, just because a system has a password, does not mean that it may be fully protected from access by other means. Equipment needs to be behind a firewall.
• Updates and Patches. The manufacturers of equipment in your station may contact you periodically regarding software patches and updates. Make it a practice of applying those software updates in a timely manner. Also, make it a practice of checking with your various manufacturers from time to time to see if they have released software updates of which you may not have been. These updates and patches may include not only feature improvements and bug fixes; they may also contain critical security patches.
• Secure Networks. Other measures to consider is a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN securely and inexpensively uses the public internet, instead of privately owned or leased lines, to provide remote sites and individuals with secure access to your organization’s network. Consider, for example, a VPN link as part of the STL, if that relies on an IP stream from the studio to transmitter.
• Safe Web Browsing and E-Mail Habits. Very bad things can enter the station via email or suspect web sites. If your station’s employees send e-mails and browse the internet (and of course, virtually all do!), you may also want to consider a software security solutions that include e-mail security, Web gateway security, and URL filtering.
The social solutions

• Security fundamentally involves a social aspect. Internally, you may need to reorient your employees and colleagues around safe email and web browsing habits. You may want to orient these employees to be wary of scam and phishing emails, and to beware of potentially dangerous attachments to emails from unknown or suspicious senders. You may need to reinforce safe web browsing habits, such as being careful not to download content from unknown or suspect websites.
• Broadcasters are a community. Externally, you may find opportunities to share information about what you are doing to improve security, what threats you see, and how you are addressing them.
When to call in an IT security consultant

There are going to be things you might not be able to do alone as a broadcaster. For FCC issues, you get outside legal advice. For annual and quarterly financials, you have an accountant. The same goes for security expertise. When you need to conduct a risk assessment, or get assistance in setting up network and IT security solutions, it may be money well spent it if you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.

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SBE Plans Multiple Events for 2017 NAB Show

As you plan how you will spend your time at the 2017 NAB Show, be sure you include the many SBE events on your convention calendar. While the Ennes Workshop launches the convention on Saturday, the highlight for SBE members is the annual Membership Meeting, which will be followed by a reception. The Membership Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:15 p.m. in room N256. The Membership Meeting brings you up to date on all the SBE activities and programs, and it includes a milestone-service recognition of SBE chapter certification chairs, and updates on the society’s plans, programs and government relations efforts.NAB Show logo Everyone attending will be eligible to win prizes, including a Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio HD (courtesy of the Membership Meeting sponsor Blackmagic Design), a $250 gift card for Fry’s Electronics and restaurant gift cards.

You’ll want to get to the meeting early as well, because the first 125 people in line will receive an SBE-logoed stylus.

The Membership Reception starts immediately after the meeting at 6:15 p.m. in rroom N243. Light snacks and drinks are possible from the generous support of several Sustaining Member sponsors. There will also be multiple prize drawings at the reception thanks to Gold sponsor EMP Solutions.

A big change for the SBE this year is that the SBE booth has moved to the North Hall meeting room hallway. The official booth number is NL1. It’s near room N262.

Check the complete event schedule online, and also in the SBE Sustaining Member Online Resource Guide and NAB Show Exhibitor Listings. You’ll find details for several committee meetings, the board of directors meeting, SBE certification exams, and the daily booth prize drawing.

SBE Partners With SACIA

By Chuck Kelly; Chair, SBE International Committee
The SBE and the Southern African Communications Industries Association (SACIA) recently signed an affiliation agreement, which allows for open communications among like-minded organizations. The SACIA is a not-for-profit society headquartered near Johannesburg, and offers technical training as well as certification in broadcast and communications technical fields.

Similar agreements are in place between the SBE and professional societies in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Pakistan, and the Philippines. There are no voting rights or financial ties under the agreements, but they are intended to share information regarding the changing technology of the broadcast industry worldwide.

SBE Conducts Second Compensation Survey

From April 1 to May 13, 2017, the Society of Broadcast Engineers will conduct a survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. The SBE conducted its first survey last year. With this second survey, it will establish a baseline for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends.

Compensation SurveyThe complete results of the survey will be available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. A link to the survey is posted on the SBE website.

The survey includes questions about job titles, broadcast market size and compensation in dollars and offered benefits. SBE membership is not required to take the survey.

While all responses remain anonymous, demographic data collected will include market size, job category/title, age, years working in broadcasting, salary, benefits received, and any certification held. The data will be split into radio or TV results, with details on job category and market size.

Ornellas Appointed to Fill SBE Board Vacancy

Jason OrnellasSBE President Jerry Massey has appointed Jason Ornellas, CBRE, CRO, to fill an open position on the SBE Board of Directors. The SBE Executive Committee ratified the appointment during a conference call meeting on March 21. The Board seat opened when Mark Simpson, CPBE, AMD, DRB, CBNE, resigned from the Board. Ornellas fills Simpson’s unexpired term that will end in the fall 2018.

Ornellas is director of engineering at CBS Radio, Sacramento, CA. He has been an SBE member since 2008, first as a Student Member. He was involved with SBE chapters in Indianapolis, San Francisco and New York City before moving to Sacramento. He is a member of Chapter 43 Sacramento.

On the appointment, Massey said, “Jason expressed interest in serving on the Board in previous SBE elections, so it was a natural choice to ask him to join the Board now. I’m glad to have him with us. At the same time, I’m sorry that Mark Simpson has decided to step down, but I understand his reasons.”

Mark Simpson was recently promoted to VP of engineering of Townsquare Media. He was elected to the Board in 2016. He has stepped down from the Board to focus his energy on his new position.

Nominations Committee Seeks Board Candidates for 2017 Election

The annual election of officers and directors to the national SBE Board of Directors will take place this summer. The SBE Nominations Committee seeks qualified candidates who are voting members (Member, Senior, Fellow or the designated representative of a SBE Sustaining Member) in good standing (dues paid). Candidates must hold an engineering level of SBE certification (CBT or higher or CBNE) and maintain it the entire duration of service on the Board, if elected. Candidates should have a desire to serve and lead, not only as a member of the board, but through service as a national committee chair or member. Members of the Board represent all members, not any one specific region, state, city or chapter. It is suggested that candidates have previous experience as a leader in his or her local chapter, or other volunteer leadership experience, prior to running for the national SBE Board.

Members of the Board are expected to attend two regularly called meetings each year; in the spring, held during the annual NAB Show, and in the fall, at the annual SBE National Meeting. Other meetings may be called via conference call during the year.

The national SBE board includes 12 directors, four officers and the immediate past president. Directors serve two-year terms and officers serve one-year terms. Six director seats will be contested in 2017 as will all four officer positions. The SBE By-laws limits the number of terms of elected members of the Board. Directors may serve three consecutive terms. The secretary and treasurer may serve up to four consecutive terms and the president and vice president may serve up to two consecutive terms. The maximum number of years anyone may serve on the board is ten consecutive years. The time spent as immediate past president does not count towards the ten-year total.

Members interested in offering their candidacy and serving on the national Board if elected are encouraged to contact the SBE Nominations Committee Chair Jim Bernier, CPBE, CBNE, at jim.bernier@sbe.org or 678-466-0002. A slate of nominees will be assembled by the committee by April 28. Other qualified members may be nominated by members in good standing no later than July 10.

The election takes place from July 24 to Aug. 23. Candidates elected will be installed into office during the SBE National Meeting in Denver, CO, on Oct. 26.

Denver to Host SBE 2017 National Meeting

The Mile High City of Denver, CO, will host the 2017 SBE National Meeting on Oct. 25-26. SBE President Jerry Massey made the announcement at the end of the 2016 SBE Annual Membership Meeting held in Columbus, OH, last October. The National Meeting will be held in conjunction with Audio/Video Expo (AVX) at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport Hotel. The host chapter is Chapter 48 of Denver and the Colorado Front Range.

The SBE National Meeting includes the SBE Annual Membership Meeting, the SBE National Awards Reception and Dinner and the SBE Fellows Breakfast. Also meeting during the event will be the national SBE Board of Directors, and the national SBE Certification Committee.

The AVX is a two-day event that includes a trade show with more than 100 media and A/V oriented exhibiting companies, and two dozen workshops and seminars.

The Crowne Plaza DIA is a first class hotel that includes a 60,000 sq. ft convention center and offers free shuttle service to and from Denver International Airport. The SBE National Meeting was last held there in 2012.

More information about the SBE National Meeting will be available beginning in June. Watch for it in The Signal and SBE-news. All members and friends of the SBE are invited to attend. Members in Colorado and neighboring states are particularly encouraged to attend while the SBE National Meeting is close by. Save the dates: Oct. 25-26 for the 2017 SBE National Meeting and AVX.

SBE Leadership Development Course Set for August

The Society of Broadcast Engineers will hold the 2017 SBE Leadership Development Course Aug. 8 – 10, 2017, in Atlanta, GA. This three-day course is an intensive study of successful leadership and management, designed specifically for broadcast engineers.

The course explores the nature of leadership, the difference between being a manager and being a leader, how to build a winning team, the importance of attitude in the leadership position, communication insights and so much more.

Rodney VandeveerInstructing the course for the seventh year will be Rodney Vandeveer, professor of Organizational Leadership and Supervision at Purdue University. Vandeveer brings more than 30 years of experience in human resources management, training, development and manufacturing. Vandeveer also owns a leadership training business, VanTech Training. A previous course attendee said, “Outstanding program! I found the material valuable, and Rodney [Vandeveer] is an engaging teacher!”

To register for this professional development opportunity, visit the Leadership Development Course page on the SBE website and click the Education tab. The enrollment fee is $620 for SBE members and $675 for non-members. The course will be held at the Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport South. A special room rate of $118 per night, plus tax, is available through July 10, 2017. Questions? Contact SBE Education Director Cathy Orosz at corosz@sbe.org.

The SBE has presented the SBE Leadership Development Course since 1997. The NAB sponsored the course from 1965 to 1995. This intense course is designed specifically for broadcast engineers who have or aspire to have management responsibilities. Details on the course are available at sbe.org/ldc.

Lopez Appointed to Fill SBE Board Vacancy

Vinny LopezSBE President Jerry Massey has appointed Vinny Lopez, CEV, CBNT, to fill the open position on the SBE Board of Directors. The SBE Executive Committee ratified the appointment during its winter meeting on January 28. The Board seat opened when Wayne Pecena, CPBE, 8-VSB, AMD, DRB, CBNE, was appointed from the Board to take the office of SBE secretary in December 2016. The Board term will end in the fall 2018.

Lopez, who is chief engineer at WSTM/WTVH/WSTQ-Sinclair Broadcast Group, Syracuse, NY, is a member of SBE Chapter 22 Central New York. He is a past president, vice president and secretary of the SBE, and served his first term as a director in 2001. He was elevated to the SBE member grade of Fellow in 2005. He has been the Chapter 22 chair and vice chair and is currently the chapter secretary.

On the appointment, Massey said, “Vinny has an established track record with the SBE, and I’m glad to have him return to service on the Board of Directors. His SBE and industry experience are a valuable asset.”

Nominations Open for 2016 SBE Awards

By Mike Hendrickson, CPBE, CBNT
Awards Committee Chair

SBE award ribbonThe time has come to nominate SBE members and chapters for SBE awards. Please consider your chapter and chapter members when you think about these awards. There may be an individual in your chapter who has been an outstanding engineer, educator or mentor for new broadcast engineers. Recognize that person by nominating him or her for the Robert W. Flanders SBE Engineer of the Year or the James C. Wulliman SBE Educator of the Year awards.

Perhaps someone has written a notable technical article or presented a technical paper at a meeting. The SBE Freedom Award recognizes an individual or group that has performed extraordinary service to the United States through the use of media technology. For the hardware and software side, the SBE Technology Award recognizes the person, group, or company that has developed innovative new technology or systems for media technology.

These are a few of the awards that are presented each year by the SBE. Of the 13 awards that are presented each year, the local chapter or SBE member nominates for 10 of them.

Many SBE members are highly qualified and deserving of recognition. Likewise, many chapters do an excellent job promoting the ideals and goals of the SBE. I urge you to nominate these members and chapters so they can receive the recognition they deserve. Nominate someone or a chapter today.

All the national awards were created to recognize the efforts of members and chapters. Find all the details on the SBE awards at sbe.org/awards. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Certification Director Megan Clappe at mclappe@sbe.org or me at mhendrickson@sbe.org.