Weather Channel Knocked Off-Air in Dangerous Precedent
On Thursday morning, a “malicious software attack” on the network of US pay television channel The Weather Channel (TWC) forced the station to air 90 minutes of canned content instead of live footage, after which it restored its live broadcast “through backup mechanisms.”
While the incident may not strike most people as very serious, it exposes a larger issue, namely the fact that TV channels are far more vulnerable to cyberattacks than in the past because they increasingly rely on cloud services and internet protocol (IP)-based networks for processing and broadcasting content.
Disruption or manipulation of TV broadcasts can have serious consequences. As Mark Orlando, CTO of Raytheon, points out: “Incidents like these demonstrate the reputational risk and potential public-safety issues introduced by cyber-attacks in the broadcasting sector, and we can draw some parallels to critical infrastructure protection in that the defensive strategy must evolve along with modernization efforts.”