Digital Alert Systems Issues New FEMA IPAWS CA File to Replace Expiring Certificate

Digital Alert Systems announce the availability of an important update of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) digital certificates used to authenticate messaging from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

Digital Alert Systems has released updated IPAWS Certificate Authority (CA) credentials for the One-Net and DASDEC series of Emergency Alert System/Common Alerting Protocol (EAS/CAP) encoder/decoders to replace a certificate in the current certification chain that will expire on October 28. One-Net and DASDEC users in the U.S. are advised to replace the soon-to-expire certificate to ensure that devices configured to require message authentication will continue to operate properly.  Digital Alert Systems reminds all EAS participants that the FCC requires them to “configure their systems to reject all CAP-formatted EAS messages that include an invalid digital signature.”

“We encourage our DASDEC and One-Net customers to update their certificate files before October 28 to avoid any message delivery disruption,” said Jon Rue, EAS product manager for Digital Alert Systems. “While we understand this does take time, our customers should be encouraged to know we are working with FEMA IPAWS to automate this process in the future.”

FEMA uses digital certificates called CAs to create a chain of trust between an EAS device and the IPAWS servers. The One-Net and DASDEC EAS/CAP devices use these special digital certificates to validate the authenticity of IPAWS-sourced CAP alerts. These certificates are designed to expire at a specific date and time, requiring the issuing authority to publish new certificates from time to time.

All One-Net and DASDEC customers using the IPAWS system must have the latest digital certificates in place to assure the validity of the communications chain of trust by processing only messages that are authenticated through IPAWS. IPAWS users who fail to update their equipment before October 28 could see this error message: “Event Log: Digital Signature VERIFICATION ERROR: Signer UNTRUSTED! Check for correct CAP decoder CA file.” Alternatively, the device might simply ignore valid IPAWS alerts.

The new field service bulletin and CA file are now available from the Digital Alert Systems website.  One-Net and DASDEC customers should go to the website, download the field service bulletin for instructions, and link to the new CA file.

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