Emergency Alert System Vulnerable to Hackers

Emergency cell phone alerts could be vulnerable to hackers, according to researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Researchers decided to test national emergency alerts after an emergency alert mishap in Hawaii. In that instance, residents received false emergency alerts that the state was going to be hit by a missile strike.

Researcher, Eric Wustrow learned that when the government or any national emergency alert is sent out to the public, it utilizes a special channel that then reaches people in cell tower ranges. They found that there are huge vulnerabilities between the cell tower and the users. He says an attacker could do this to cause unrest, cruel prank or even some type of terrorist attack.

"There is really nothing preventing someone from implementing this attack today, so we are hoping this gets fixed as soon as possible," says Wustraw.

He says they found it would be pretty easy to hack into a large number of phones at one time. He says one example is at a sporting event or concert. He says hackers could hit 90 percent of the phones inside the stadium or venue.

While the emergency alert system has holes in its security Wustraw says, " you should definitely trust emergency alerts you get today, we have no evidence that any attackers are actually doing this."

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