FCC Head Wants Stronger EAS Security


WASHINGTON, D.C. — FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has shared with her fellow commissioners draft final rules that, if adopted, would strengthen the security of the nation’s public alert and warning systems—the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts— against emerging cybersecurity threats.

The Emergency Alert System delivers warnings to the public thorough radio and television, while Wireless Emergency Alerts deliver warnings to consumers’ wireless phones. If adopted by a vote of the full Commission, the draft rules would require communications providers that participate in these systems to create, update, and implement cybersecurity risk management plans. The rules would also require Emergency Alert System participants, such as broadcasters and cable providers, to notify the Commission of equipment defects within 24 hours of discovery, which would provide the Commission with greater awareness of system availability and help identify persistent technical problems in this equipment.

In addition, the rules would ensure that Emergency Alert System participants have contingency plans for delivering alerts to the public.

The Department of Homeland Security last week urged regulators to ensure that owners
and operators of communications networks and other U.S. critical infrastructure are
implementing controls to improve their security and resilience to cybersecurity threats,
including through the establishment of minimum cybersecurity requirements.

In October 2022, the Commission sought comment on proposals to improve the cybersecurity of the nation’s emergency alert systems in response to various security lapses and incidents. In October 2023, the Commission and CISA co-hosted a public roundtable on alerting cybersecurity. The draft final rules, which would reduce risks to communications networks, in keeping with a whole-of-government effort to establish cybersecurity requirements to support national security and public safety, are informed by this stakeholder input.

As is the general practice for items circulated for a vote, the rules would be released if adopted by the Commission.


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