Federal Emergency Alert System easily taken over by hackers.

The message broadcast in several states last winter was equal parts alarming and absurd: “Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. . . . Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies, as they are considered extremely dangerous.” The reported zombie invasion was not something out of the “The Walking Dead.” It was the federal Emergency Alert System under control of hackers — who exploited weaknesses that are disturbingly common in many critical systems throughout government, according to a Senate cybersecurity report set for release Tuesday.  U.S. officials have warned for years that the prospect of a cyberattack is the top threat to the nation and have sharply increased spending for computer security. Yet the report by the Republican staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says that federal agencies are ill-prepared to defend networks against even modestly skilled hackers. “As a taxpayer, I’m outraged,” said Alan Paller, who is research director at the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity education group, and reviewed a draft version of the report ahead of its official release. “We’re spending all this money and getting so little impact for it.” More
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