Members of the Association for International Broadcasting have written to key suppliers to the broadcasting industry urging greater engagement over cyber security. The letter calls on suppliers to broadcasters to ensure that their products – which form critical parts of the broadcast chain – have high-levels of robust security that will help to mitigate the effects of cyber attacks.

The letter is a result of work by the AIB Cyber Security Working Group to identify key issues of concern within Members of the Association for International Broadcasting about the current state of security provided within equipment. The Working Group has been active for the past four years, drawing together the Chief Information Security Officers and Chief Technology Officers across a wide range of AIB Members. Its purpose is to share intelligence about threats and to share knowledge about ways to mitigate attacks on broadcasters.

“The number of attempts to breach the security of broadcasting networks is constantly increasing,” says AIB Cyber Security Working Group chairman and CISO at Arqiva, Denis Onuoha. “Yet the supply side of the industry is not accelerating its work on developing robust security at the same rate. This disconnect is something that the AIB – and other industry associations – is striving to end. We want suppliers to the broadcasting industry to understand the concerns and the needs of broadcasters across the world and to work across the sector to improve security.”

Not every cyber attack is successful. However, the high-profile attacks that have been revealed clearly demonstrate the havoc that can be wreaked when defences are breached. The costs involved in recovering a broadcasting operation following a successful attack run into tens of millions of dollars, while the reputational damage is potentially even more damaging.

“As a global trade association, it is in our DNA to support Members in dealing with challenging subjects, such as cyber security,” comments AIB chief executive, Simon Spanswick. “There is often a reluctance to discuss cyber security, or a hope that an attack ‘won’t happen to me’. This is misguided as it is only through collaboration that the questions that the industry faces can be successfully navigated. The AIB wants to ensure that none of its Members have to deal with the aftermath of a cyber attack and that is why the Association is calling on the supply side of the industry to engage.”

Through its Working Group, the AIB is now in regular contact with the national security services in a number of countries in order to share knowledge and expertise. The Association is developing plans for the creation of a broadcast cyber security research unit within the information security department of a major UK university that will develop a live broadcast production and transmission laboratory where undergraduate and postgraduate research into security of equipment will be undertaken in conjunction with industry.

“All the work that the AIB undertakes on cyber security is of benefit both to Members and the wider industry,” continues Spanswick. “That’s why we’re encouraging the active and supportive involvement by the supply side in our cyber security initiatives. It’s only by working together that the industry can combat the very real threats that exist.”

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