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 (14): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Hacking

Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Hikvision Removed From US Army Base, Congressional Hearing Called on Jan 12, 2018
Hikvision has been removed from a US Army Base and a US congressional committee is planning a hearing on cybersecurity risks and specifically,...
Hikvision Declares 'Never Click On Links In Emails' on Jan 09, 2018
Hikvision is stepping up its cybersecurity efforts with a clear recommendation - to never click on links in emails: It is a surprising change...
Hacked Hikvision IP Camera Map on Dec 18, 2017
The interactive map below shows a sample of hacked and vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras across the USA. Hover over a marker to see an image from...
Broken Hikvision App Exposes Hypocrisy on Dec 06, 2017
While Hikvision talks about a commitment to cybersecurity, their broken app and their insecure 'solution' exposes not only their engineering...
Hikvision UPnP Hacking Risk on Dec 04, 2017
Hikvision IP cameras are being hacked even for end users who had not set up port forwarding and believed their cameras were 'safe' behind...
Dahua Forbes 'Next Web Crisis' Vulnerability Dispute on Nov 16, 2017
The buffer overflow vulnerability in Dahua products is not in dispute, in fact we covered it when it was first published. What is in dispute is...
Vivotek Remote Stack Overflow Vulnerability on Nov 14, 2017
A stack overflow vulnerability in Vivotek cameras has been discovered by bashis, the security researcher who has also found vulnerabilities in...
WSJ Investigates Hikvision on Nov 13, 2017
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has released a detailed investigation into Hikvision's government ownership and cybersecurity problems, hitting the...
Hikvision Admits Backdoor 'PR Issue' on Oct 24, 2017
Hikvision is admitting a problem. The backdoor itself is evidently not the problem for them. The problem, according to Hikvision, is a public...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Chinese Government Hikvision Surveillance System On US Government Network on Jan 18, 2018
Hikvision, the Chinese government-owned manufacturer, has publicly claimed that their products are running on a US government network. Moreover,...
Camera Course - Last Day - Save $50 on Jan 18, 2018
Today is the last day to save $50 - register now. Learn video surveillance and get certified. Save $50 on the course, ending this Thursday the...
VSaaS Usage Statistics 2018 on Jan 18, 2018
VSaaS has been a 'next big thing' for more than a decade. The prospect of managing, storing and streaming video from the cloud rather than...
Vivint Streety Video Strengthens Door Knocking on Jan 17, 2018
Vivint is famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) for mastering large scale door to door selling. The company has skyrocketed from a...
Axis: "It’s A Question Of Trust And Who You Want To Be Associated With" on Jan 17, 2018
Who do you trust? Who do you want to be associated with? Axis is raising hard questions to start 2018. In this note, we examine these questions,...
Software House Vulnerability Allows Inside Attacker To Open Doors on Jan 17, 2018
A vulnerability in Software House IP-ACM modules allows an attacker to potentially unlock doors, or perform other actions, on affected systems....
'Defiant' Hikvision 'Strikes Back' At WSJ And US on Jan 16, 2018
The fight is on. Hikvision and their owner, the Chinese government, 'strikes back' against the Wall Street Journal and US politicians raising...
The 2018 Surveillance Industry Guide on Jan 16, 2018
The 300 page, 2018 Video Surveillance Industry Guide, covering the key events and the future of the video surveillance market, is now available,...
Edward Snowden Haven App Tested on Jan 16, 2018
Global coverage followed the December 2017 announcement that Edward Snowden was leading a team developing Haven, an app "that leverages on-device...
This High Schooler Is Excited About His Future Security Career on Jan 15, 2018
A common lament is that smart, young people have little interest in surveillance systems. In fact, discussions like Should Talented Young People...

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