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Somebody's Watching You: Hacking IP Video Cameras

Major holes in network video recorders (NVRs) could result in a major physical security and privacy FAIL
Turns out those IP cameras used for physical security in businesses and homes can be easily hijacked by bad guys.

A researcher next week at the BSides Las Vegas conference will detail some key vulnerabilities he discovered in D-Link's mydlink Network Video Recorder (NVR), a storage device used to record video from cameras. The flaws, which D-Link fixed in a firmware upgrade last Friday, could allow an attacker to hack into the device and remotely control the video cameras.

Bharat Jogi, who discovered the bugs, says an NVR device is the heart of an IP video camera network. "If you want to monitor a room or something, you have eight to 10 cameras connected to" it to monitor and record video of a room or location, says Jogi, a security engineer at Qualys.

One of the flaws in the NVR leaks information from the device, including the credentials of all of the IP cameras connected to it. So a hacker could control the cameras by easily capturing usernames and passwords associated with the devices, and wrest control of them.

The NVR also can be cheated to cough up the video feeds it has stored, Jogi says. "It will give you all the details of video feeds," he says.

Another vulnerability Jogi discovered is that the device accepts any firmware: "You don't have to answer any credentials to update firmware on the device. You can upload malicious firmware" to shut it down and stop it from recording, for example, he says.

But the biggest bug he found was that the device could allow remote attackers to establish administrative accounts on the device. "You can become an admin of that device from anywhere," he says. "An attacker could send a malicious request and become admin of the device. He could [even then] view IP camera feeds from a mobile phone" remotely, he says.

"These systems are supposed to be very secure. But when you connect them to your environment, you are exposing a lot. Anyone can view it and do anything with it" if they exploit the flaws, he says.

Jogi, who will release free tools he created to test for these flaws in IP video camera networks, says the vulnerabilities could be exploited by attackers who want to target a specific company or location. "If they want to view what's going on inside a company, or if they want to have information on a company and are planning some attacks on them, this is a very good start," he says.

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