ADI Refuses to Fix Their OEM'd Hikvision Security Risks [Solved]

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Mar 09, 2016

More than a year after massive hacks against Hikvision was disclosed; More than 9 months after Hikvision issued improved security firmware, mega distributor and Hikvision OEM ADI still refuses to fix the well-known security risk.

ADI is still shipping W-Box IP Cameras using the exploited 5.2 firmware, with no option for the improved 5.3 release. We repeatedly encouraged ADI to fix this, with a public notice more than 5 months ago.

ADI's Supposed 'Fix'

ADI did issue what they call a 'patch' but the patch is primarily a pop-up warning, still allowing the weak default password, without the stronger security enhancements that Hikvision has deployed in 5.3.

 

ADI claims they take "cyber security very seriously" but their 'patch' shows otherwise. We recommend users avoid W-Box until and unless they adopt the security measures that Hikvision recommends and that other Hikvision OEMs have adopted.

Risks Publicly Traded Company

ADI is a billion dollar plus division of Honeywell, an American publicly traded company with an $83 billion market valuation.

ADI is buying from a Chinese government controlled company, Hikvision, and continuing to ship software that their Chinese supplier has deemed risky.

Given the increased public awareness of cyber security risks and ADI's refusal to take action for such a long period, this exposes their parent company to potential liability and their customers to security breaches.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

Background of Hikvision Hacks

These problems emerged in March 2015, when it was disclosed that Hikvision was hacked inside Chinese government networks, following numerous reports of Hikvision being hacked around the world (see: Hikvision Hacking Incidents). Indeed, this generated international news and Hikvision's stock trading had to be temporarily suspended to deal with the crisis.

Upgrade Available 9+ Months Ago

In response to this, Hikvision significantly improved their firmware to close out the most basic and significant risk exposures in their 5.3 release from April / May 2015. Release notes for the 5.3.0 firmware on Hikvisions website note the security improvements.

Below is an example of a Hikvision camera with the improved 5.3 software that Hikvision rates as 'strong' security:

By contrast, the ADI W-Box camera that still only has 5.2 software is reported by Hikvision as 'risky':

ADI 'New' Manufacturer Must Be Responsible

Only in the past few years has ADI tried their hand as a "manufacturer", primarily by OEMing finished goods, ranging from IP cameras to 6 Zone Metal Detectors to piezo buzzers.  

The level of risk, and responsibility, associated with a being a conscientious supplier of network-connected devices like a camera or recorder is high. This requires more involvement than just adding a logo and markup.

Warning to ADI 5+ Months Ago

Certainly, ADI must (or should be aware of this). Indeed, IPVM issued a warning on this in September 2015, to help both ADI, their dealers and end users be aware of this risk. We contacted ADI's President four days ago and they say they are working on a response but no details have yet been shared.

Security conscious companies would have a ready answer to questions regarding 9-month old security vulnerabilities, if not an actual fix.

Risk for ADI Cameras To Be Insecure For Years

Firmware upgrades after installation, especially for budget-oriented products like W-Box, are rare. The "if it ain't broke, don't fit it" rule is the mindset here, though in this case the cameras are technically "broken".  Customers with W-Box product may not realize the attack surface exposed via the W-Box cameras, each one being a tiny exploitable computer on the customer's network.  In the past, Hikvision NVRs have been hacked to become pitiful bitcoin miners, hacked cameras could be put to similar tasks, potentially reducing their functionality.  It would even be relatively simple to have a hacked camera replace live video with stored static images, or upload periodic images to a rouge server.

Because of this, these ADI cameras may continue to leave customers exposed for 5 or even 10 years, potentially to exploits that have not been considered yet.

Other OEMs (Including Tri-Ed) Have Been Fixed

Two of ADI's direct competitors, Anixter's Tri-Ed and LTS, who also OEM Hikvision, have fixed / upgraded to the 5.3 firmware. While Hikvision has myriad OEMs, and it is impossible to verify all, these cases show that others in similar situation have been able to resolve this.

OEMing Hikvision Adds Bullseye

Because Hikvision is the largest supplier of cameras in the world, and ADI is one of the largest distributors in the world, this makes their devices quite attractive for hackers to target, not only because of the widely known flaws but the sheer mass of these cameras deployed.

----

UPDATE March 11 2016:

ADI responded stating they had created a patch for 5.2 with security fixes, that response unedited and in full is below:

ADI takes cyber security very seriously and we stand behind the products we sell.  We release firmware updates as security impacts are identified and patches are ready for release by manufacturers. In fact, we received the 5.2 corrective patch from Hikvision in December 2015, and immediately made it available to customers on the wboxtech.com website.

In response to your questions:

1) Is there any reason that current or recently shipped (last 9 months) W-Box cameras cannot be upgraded to 5.3?

The Wbox equipment can be upgraded via firmware upgrade. The 5.2 security patch, which is the basis of your article, was released and posted to thewboxtech.com website in December. If the patch had been installed in your camera, and your password configured as the patch recommends, the camera would reflect strong security. 

2) What is the rationale for staying on 5.2 instead of upgrading to 5.3?

5.3 is a version release that included new features as well as a security upgrade. We elected to issue a patch to enhance security. 

3) Does ADI intend to offer 5.3 (or a newer version if in the works) within the next 30 days? 

ADI consistently reviews our product line and  incorporates new product features regularly.

4) Does ADI have, or plan to incorporate, a plan or policy for staying up to date with future firmware releases for W-Box? 

We release firmware updates as security impacts are identified and patches are ready for release. The security patch for this issue was released in December, when we received it. 

Michael [ADI President]

Our findings show that this W-Box firmware does not enforce the same security as Hikvision's own 5.3 firmware:

We downloaded the current firmware from http://wboxtech.com/firmware/IPC-firmware.zip and installed this firmware on a W-Box test unit.  

 

We have reached out to ADI for additional clarification and will update with any response.

UPDATE March 16, 2016

We have not received any additional followup from ADI, despite multiple attempts and questions to them.  The security in ADI's patched 5.2 firmware release is still weak and reflects a poor effort on ADI's part to take "cyber security very seriously".  Users of W-Box cameras should take additional precautions to avoid having cameras directly connected to the Internet.

UPDATE June 2, 2016

ADI has finally fixed the issue, upgrading to 5.3. Here is the new instructions and the 5.3 firmware.

This clip shows the activation process now required in the web interface, rejecting the old default password of "wbox123", requiring 8 characters and special characters.

2 reports cite this report:

Hacked Dahua Cameras Drive Massive Mirai Cyber Attack on Sep 27, 2016
Cyber attacks are accelerating and IP cameras are behind many of them. Worse, last week, a 'massive' attack was carried out using numerous Dahua...
ADI Finally Fixes Hikvision OEM'd Security Risk on Jun 09, 2016
After refusing for months to fix the obvious security risks, ADI has given in and fixed it. Two important lessons here: ADI knows little about...
Comments (13) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Hacking

Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
Hikvision Corrects False Cybersecurity Announcement on Jun 18, 2018
Hikvision has corrected a false cybersecurity announcement that claimed a British government-sponsored program endorsed the cybersecurity of...
The Dumb Ones: PSA's Bozeman On Cybersecurity on Jun 15, 2018
The smart ones are the hundred people who flew to Denver and spent $500+ on a 1.5-day conference featuring Dahua as a 'cyber responsible partner',...
Debating Relevance of China Hacking US Navy Plans on Jun 11, 2018
"Chinese government hackers have compromised the computers of a Navy contractor, stealing massive amounts of highly sensitive data related to...
Remove Dahua and Hikvision Gov Installs Required By US House Bill Ban on Jun 06, 2018
The final released US House Bill HR 5515 verifies that it not only prohibits the purchasing of Dahua and Hikvision products, it requires removing...
Dahua's Terrible Cybersecurity, Buys Credibility From PSA And SIA on Jun 04, 2018
Dahua has a terrible cybersecurity track record. But American organizations, like the Security Industry Association (SIA) and the PSA Security...
Canon Responds To IP Camera Hacks on May 30, 2018
Canon cameras made international news earlier this month, with reports of them being hacked in Japan (e.g., Hackers disable scores of Canon-made...
Corruption Alleged Against Hikvision Procurement In India on May 28, 2018
Over the past month, allegations of corruption and national security risk have made the news in India over the planned purchase of 150,000...
Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance Guide on May 18, 2018
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Hikvision Source Code Transparency Center Examined on May 14, 2018
Following criticism of Hikvision's Chinese government ownership and Hikvision's IP camera backdoor, the company has responded with a series of...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Security Sales Course Summer 2018 on Jul 13, 2018
Based on member's interest, IPVM is offering a security sales course this summer. Register Now - IPVM Security Sales Course Summer 2018 This...
US Tariffs Hit China Video Surveillance on Jul 13, 2018
Chinese video surveillance products avoided tariffs for the first two rounds. Now, in the third round, many video surveillance products will be...
Last Chance - July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration ends today, Thursday. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance...
4 Most Difficult Camera Installs (Statistics) on Jul 12, 2018
Heavy housings, cumbersome brackets, heavy ladders required, and tricky field of view requirements will cause difficulties no matter the camera...
Axis Perimeter Defender Video Analytics Tested on Jul 12, 2018
Axis 'high security' video analytics offering is Perimeter Defender, OEMed / developed with Digital Barriers. But how good is Perimeter Defender?...
Hikvision Fights Ban - Claims 'Red Scare', Hires 14 Term Ex-Congressman on Jul 11, 2018
Hikvision is fighting back against the House Bill Ban of their products. Hikvision has hired one of the biggest lobbying firms, led by a 14 term...
Arecont Acquisition By Costar on Jul 11, 2018
Arecont Vision acquisition by Costar Technologies has been approved by the court, concluding the bankruptcy process triggered by Arecont's...
Amazon Ring Partners With Rapid Response For $10 Monitoring on Jul 10, 2018
Amazon's Ring alarm system is using Rapid Response for monitoring, IPVM has confirmed in our testing. Amazon is arguably the most feared new...
SIA Lobbyists Working On House Bill Ban of Dahua and Hikvision on Jul 10, 2018
While SIA is most known for ISC West, SIA maintains the industry's most significant lobbying organization to influence US government action. Last...
Eastern and SavvyTech Merge, Form ENS, Targets ADI on Jul 09, 2018
ADI, ENS is coming for you. Or, at least, they hope. Two US distributors, NY based EasternCCTV and California based SavvyTech have merged, to...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact