Big Security Hole in Surveillance CamerasAuthor: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 06, 2012
The mainstream press has been abuzz with an IP camera vulnerability that allows people from anywhere on the Internet to directly and easily access TRENDnet cameras without any authentication. In this note, we explain how it was done, why we believe Trendnet engineers had to know about it and what implications this has for the rest of the surveillance industry.
While it took real skill for an outsider to find the exploit, usig the exploit itself is very simple. Basically, a standard URL exists that if entered provides direct access to the MJPEG video stream without any restrictions.
The hacker deconstructed Trendnet's firmware, manually inspecting the enclosed files. This inspection revealed multiple CGI scripts used for requesting live video. Trendnet had left a folder called 'anony' (as in anonymous access). In that folder is a file named mjpg.cgi. A request to that file returns a live video stream (e.g., http://192.168.1.17/anony/mjpg.cgi). Here's what the basic queries look like on a Linux distrobution:
The hacker then detailed a method by which users were able to search for Trendnet cameras available on the internet. Taking this information, active internet messageboards, such as Reddit and 4chan, set about finding as many open camera feeds as possible, sharing lists of IP addresses of cameras as they were found. This led to likely hundreds of readers of these sites viewing feeds and capturing stills from hundreds of IP cameras, many in private residences, along with businesses.
Some of these captures are extremely disconcerting, looking directly into users' homes:
We suspect that Trendnet engineers knew about this security flaw, simply because it is an obvious, "in plain sight" feature for an engineer, likely used as a backdoor or a shortcut by their internal team to do testing.
Trendnet has since released an apology and firmware update for affected cameras. However, notice of this firmware update was sent only to those users which registered their Trendnet camera, which is typically a small percentage. Additionally, given Trendnet's position in the industry, as a low-cost manufacturer often used for residential and small business systems by less tech-savvy users, many users will be unlikely to ever hear about this issue and subsequent fix, leaving them vulnerable indefinitely.
Implications for the Industry
While this exploit was performed on cameras from Trendnet, a minor presence in the professional surveillance industry, the implications it has for the industry as a whole are potentially huge. With so many different IP cameras available, chances are high that issues such as this exist in other manufactuers' lines. The exact hole will likely not be the same but the end result may be.
Cameras in corporate environments may be of less concern, as they are most often running on networks behind firewalls, internal to a facility. However, an attacker who gains access to the network could still use holes such as these to view feeds directly from cameras.
Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 06, 2012
Other Update on Trendnet
Most Recent Industry Updates
Top Barriers to New Security Sales on Mar 30, 2015
Only 25-30% of both integrator and manufacturer sales are to new customers, according to new IPVM...
Importance of Storage Costs - Statistics on Mar 30, 2015
10 years ago, 500GB for an entire DVR was considered good. Today, there are 6TB hard drives. Mor...
Secret Service Video Surveillance Scandal on Mar 27, 2015
The US Secret Service has taken a beating over the last few years. Hookers, public drunkenness a...
Axis Introduces... An IP Horn? on Mar 27, 2015
Axis invented the IP camera. Now they claim to have the "first open standard, network loudspeak...
How to Blow $200,000 On A Booth on Mar 26, 2015
The industry has more than doubled in size in the past 10 years yet trade shows are struggling to...
Axis Zipstream Claims Average 50% Savings on Mar 25, 2015
Axis claims that its new Zipstream compression technology can "lower bandwidth and storage requir...
First Security Sales Course Launched on Mar 24, 2015
This is the first and only security sales course, customized for the needs and challenges specifi...
Favorite Network Switches for Surveillance 2015 on Mar 24, 2015
5 manufacturers stood out as integrator favorites for network switches from more than 140 votes /...
Fired: All But One Exacq Rep Firm Now Out on Mar 23, 2015
And then there was one. After firing multiple rep firms in January, Tyco has fired 3 more rep fi...
Sony Security Restructures / Cuts on Mar 23, 2015
Sony Security's challenges continue. Last year, Sony terminated their US GM, now they have cut e...