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Are Your Radio Communications Really Secure? Why You Need Link Layer Authentication

April O'Reilly  (Program Analyst, CISA)

Scott Wright  (Sr. Telecommunications Engineer II, State of Connecticut)

Hermina (Nina) Koshinski  (Chief, Radio Operations Engineering & Support, P25 System Administrator & Program Manager, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)

Justin Evans  (Radio Systems Manager, Montgomery County Hospital District)

Charles Ross  ( Manager of Public Safety Network Operations and Radio Systems Integration , State of New Mexico)

Location: N261

Date: Thursday, March 30

Time: 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Pass Type: All Access, Standard, Quick Pass Thursday

Track: Cybersecurity, LMR

Format: Panel Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Your Gmail account requires authentication, shouldn't your public safety grade system do the same? Over the past years, system owners, public safety officials, and public safety users alike have increased their understanding and appreciation of the critical importance of cybersecurity for land mobile radio (LMR) systems. The public safety community is seeing increasing examples of criminals accessing LMR networks for a variety of illegal and nefarious purposes, allowing them to monitor communications and disrupt law enforcement activities. To protect their systems against unwanted and unauthorized access from those adversaries, system owners and administrators are turning to a Project 25 (P25) feature called Link Layer Authentication (LLA). LLA controls access to trunking radio systems by securely verifying a radio's authenticity prior to granting it system access, thus providing an extra layer of protection for critical communications networks.

This session will provide information on how LLA can provide additional network protections, share real world case study examples of why LLA is needed, and best practices for successful implementation. The audience will hear about an organization whose radio identifications were stolen allowing criminals to monitor police activities and alter operations to avoid apprehension, causing potential impacts to officer safety and mission execution. Had LLA been implemented on the system, these spoofed radios would not have been able to access the system and public safety communications.