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Digital Signage Security Considerations

Security is a crucial consideration for digital signage.

March 5, 2021

Digital signage is a great way to display news, critical information, and more to your audience. Using digital signage, you can inform or entertain your employees or customers, making for a more engaging experience. 

However, before jumping into digital signage, it's vital to consider security. Any machine connected to your network is at risk of hacking, and digital signage is no exception. Without proper installation and safety measures, digital signage is a target for hackers. There have already been several serious digital signage hacking cases where hackers have used the signs to display vulgar information or propaganda. Furthermore, if a cyber attacker does get into your digital signage, they may be able to use that as an entry point to your entire network. 

Security is a crucial consideration for digital signage, but you can prevent hacks and secure your digital signage with the proper foresight. Here's how. 

Involve Your IT Department 

From the moment you consider digital signage, include your IT department. Cybersecurity is a primary concern of your IT department, and getting them involved early can ensure you take the best security measures for your digital signage. Your IT department can help prepare your network and system to ensure you can securely add digital signage. Don't make the mistake of leaving your IT department out of the process or waiting until a threat appears. Your IT team can help you ensure the best digital signage security. 

Conduct a Security Audit 

Conduct a security audit to assess your network and processes. You'll want to compare your current setup to the cybersecurity best practices. For example, check the strength of your passwords and user authentication. Examine your networks for vulnerabilities, and create plans to address them. 

Vet Your Provider 

Not all digital signage providers are of the same caliber. Choosing the wrong provider is a big mistake and could leave your signage vulnerable to cyber threats. You must carefully vet your provider before choosing one. Your provider should be knowledgeable and experienced. The best providers can help you create a comprehensive digital signage solution with optimal security.

Here's what to look for in a digital signage provider:

  • Commercial-grade, durable displays. Exceptional hardware solutions with strong housings. 
  • Intuitive software. Software is crucial for digital signage, and you need a provider with easy-to-use digital software. 
  • Commitment to security. Your vendor should be able to assist you with digital signage security advice. 
  • Extensive experience. You need a vendor with a wide range of experience, so you can be certain they will help you choose the best digital signage solution. 
  • Communication. You should never be left in the dark by your vendor. Look for a vendor that communicates clearly and effectively, answering your questions promptly. 

Physical Security 

Before even considering other forms of security, you have to make sure you have the proper physical security for your digital signage. Digital signs are visible to many people, but they should not be physically accessible to everyone. Without proper physical security, someone could simply walk up to your digital signage and tamper with it.

Secure all of your screens to the wall using screws or bolts. Consider locking your digital signage in a box and also securing your public players. Password protect your BIOS and PC ports. 

Secure Your Operating System 

Physically securing your digital signage is important, but most hackers will be seeking out remote entry. Practice the highest level of operating system security possible. With a few simple practices, it's easy to limit the risk of your OS. Doing this will deter many hackers while also reducing software maintenance. 

Tips for restricting access to your operating system include:

  • Limit who has access to your network. Only provide access to people who absolutely need it. 
  • Choose software that doesn't require open inbound ports. 
  • Block unwanted traffic with a firewall. 
  • Keep your system up-to-date, especially for security updates. 

Digital Signage Application Security 

If your application is not secure, bad actors can intercept data over the network. You must ensure proper application security for your digital signage. Third-party applications still put your network at risk. 

Tips for application security include:

  • All solutions should use secure protocols for information. Avoid insecure options like HTTP or FTP. 
  • Use applications with SSL certificates. 
  • Ideally, opt for applications with a layer of encryption for all data. 
  • Disable listening on all ports to prevent hackers from putting their content on your screens. 
  • Only choose a vendor that does regular security checks and audits and follows the best security practices. 

Consider AV over IP 

AV over IP sends audiovisual signals over the internet, WAN, LAN using your standard equipment. You can use AV over IP for digital signage, as well as many other applications. 

There are many helpful benefits of using AV over IP including:

  • Improved communications
  • Dynamic, targeted messaging 
  • Highly scalable solution to which you can easily add devices.
  • Save time and money.
  • Centrally or remotely monitor and administrate devices, content, and systems. 

Security for AV over IP

A common myth about AV over IP is that it is less secure than traditional AV. With the proper security measures, AV over IP is incredibly secure. However, you will need to consider the potential for security breaches. ANY device or process that goes over your network is at risk for security breaches. There certainly are potential threats for AV over IP, and a cyberattack could compromise your entire network. However, there are many ways to protect your network. 

How to Protect Your AV over IP Network:

Using AV over IP is very helpful for digital signage. Here are some security practices to keep in mind for AV over IP:

  • Choose secure equipment. Fiber-optic cables are a more secure option than copper cables. By simply choosing more secure equipment, you can reduce many threats and enjoy key advantages. 
  • Locked cables. Lockable cables can reduce physical security threats, like intentional or accidental disconnection. To unlock them, you need an authorized technician with a special tool. 
  • Locked cabinets. Locked cabinets are another simple physical security measure that can help protect access points for your network.
  • Secure KVM switches secure your sensitive data with KVM switches. They prevent data leakage between computers or devices with different security levels. You can control the operations on multiple computers, and they have mechanical, optical, and electrical signal isolation as well. 
  • Secure user interface. Protect data with multilayer security systems including encryption and a PIN option. 
  • Monitor network activity. Log your access and monitor network activity in detail. This will help you quickly identify any unauthorized activity. 

A Secure Digital Signage Solution 

To ensure digital signage security, you need a committed vendor that can help you every step of the way. BLM Technologies offers comprehensive digital signage and AV over IP solutions. We're with you every step of the way, and will help you get the best digital signage solution for your needs. You can count on us for secure, professional installation and expert maintenance and support to ensure your system's safety and security. Learn more about how BLM Technologies can help you get a custom, secure digital signage solution today.

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