Vulnerabilities / Threats
11:37 AM

Videoconferencing Systems Vulnerable To Hackers

Take these steps to secure your videoconferencing system and prevent outsiders from spying on your company.

Last October, security researcher HD Moore's scanned about 3% of addressable Internet space looking for high-end videoconferencing systems--the type of systems present in many corporate boardrooms and meeting spaces.

The scan, which took about two hours using a handful of computers, discovered a quarter of a million systems that understood the H.323 protocol, widely used by Internet protocol (IP) communication systems. Using that list, Moore, the chief security officer for vulnerability-management firm Rapid7, used a module for the popular Metasploit framework to "dial" each server, connect long enough to grab the public handshake packets, and then dropped the connection.

"Any machine that accepted a call was set to autoanswer," Moore says. "It was fairly easy to figure out who was vulnerable, because if they weren't vulnerable, then they would not have picked up the call."

Using the information, Moore and Rapid7 CEO Mike Tuchen identified 5,000 videoconferencing systems that were set to automatically answer incoming calls, allowing a knowledgeable attacker to essentially gain a front-row seat inside corporate meetings. Videoconferencing systems that automatically answer incoming calls can be turned on externally by an attacker without attracting the attention of people in the boardroom. In tests on systems in Rapid7's lab, the researchers found that the system could listen into nearby conversations and record video of the surrounding environment--even read e-mail from a laptop screen and passwords off of a sticky note that was 20 feet away.

While the number of vulnerable systems may be small--about 150,000 across the Internet, Moore estimates--the technique returned an interesting set of targets, he says.

"What made this interesting is that you are only going to find places that can afford $25,000 videoconferencing systems, so it's a pretty self-selecting set of targets," Moore says.

The lion's share of the videoconferencing systems found by Moore's experiment were made by Polycom, a leading manufacturer of the systems that mostly ship with their autoanswering functionality enabled. Companies using equipment from other manufacturers likely turned on the feature to make videoconferencing as problem free as possible.

Yet using such systems securely requires only a few, if not always simple, steps, says Joshua Talbot, security intelligence manager at Symantec.

Read the rest of this article on Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
E-Commerce Security: What Every Enterprise Needs to Know
The mainstream use of EMV smartcards in the US has experts predicting an increase in online fraud. Organizations will need to look at new tools and processes for building better breach detection and response capabilities.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio