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NAB Show: Cybersecurity, Now More Than Ever

As IP technology expands its presence in broadcast facilities, security from outside troublemakers becomes paramount

The revolution in the Internet Protocol interconnection of broadcast equipment brings great efficiencies and capability. It also brings the very great risk of hacking networks, which puts revenue, station operations and licenses at risk. So the “Cyber-Security and Network Integrity for HD Radio Broadcasting” session concerning cybersecurity and network integrity of HD Radio was especially timely, given the recent hacking of radio stations with audio over IP devices.

DTS HD Radio Vice President Ashruf El-Dinary told the session, “There are so many tools available on the internet and on-line retailers, that anybody with a computer could find a way to get into your broadcast system and make some problems.” Those problems could involve studio automation systems, audio feeds (local or remote), for example.

El-Dinary suggested some best practices to mitigate the risks, such as using a virtual private network to allow remote access to transmission equipment, and using a layered approach to security. “No one solution will protect you, but many layers of solutions will give you a higher of protection.” He says staff education on the risks and vulnerabilities of the network is most important.

Though all systems are vulnerable to some degree, an HD Radio study showed that the digital broadcast system (HD) system and architecture was fairly robust, and there were no concerns about those systems compromising the over-the-air broadcast. El-Dinary called for the NAB and broadcasters to set up a working group to establish guidelines and best practices for operations at the radio stations.

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