Axis Critical Security Vulnerability

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jul 06, 2016

Axis has disclosed a 'critical security vulnerability' in most Axis products shipped in the past ~6 years.

Risk of Vulnerability

This has been deemed 'critical' because if an attacker exploits this, they will 'get control of the product', meaning that they could then not only impact the camera's performance but use this to launch other attacks, etc.

Who Is At Risk

If a camera can be accessed, it likely is at risk for being taken over. In practical terms, the highest risk is those cameras exposed to the public Internet. It is important to note that this includes cameras that use UPnP or port forwarding as Axis themselves has acknowledged. Because of this, it is safer to upgrade all of your cameras in case there is any unknown openings. This is also a good reminder not to use UPnP or port forwarding.

Full Public Disclosure Made [Updated]

On July 18th, the researcher made a full public disclosure (report here) including a python script to prove / enable others to perform the attack. As such we strongly advise you to upgrade immediately.

Tested By IPVM

IPVM has tested the vulnerability using the researcher's disclosure. We found that it did allow getting root access to Axis cameras that allowed us to disable, deface and attack various devices.

Broad Vulnerability

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

Products starting with firmware 5.20.x, which is from ~2010 time range (e.g., this 2010 5.20.x release note), are vulnerable. Technically, Axis says 6.30 firmware is not vulnerable but that is not shipping as of this publication.

Something they did or component they added in the 5.20.x firmware ~6 years ago is the source of the vulnerability. In that time frame, there has easily been millions of Axis cameras shipped, now at risk.

Delayed Announcement 

It took Axis about a week from the time they first informed partners (by email) to when they informed the general public with a press release.

Cybersecurity Industry Concerns

Axis has been hammering home cybersecurity as a differentiator, part of Axis' superior quality claims (disputed here). Indeed, Hikvision has suffered the most here. Now, Axis has its own issue to face. They will likely emphasize how technical / advanced this vulnerability is but, regardless, it is hard to really promote their own cybersecurity superiority, as they have been doing, in the immediate wake of this.

NOTE: This report was originally published on June 30th, when we first discovered it and substantially re-written on July 6th, when Axis issued a full press release and more details and updated again on July 18th after disclosure was made.

12 reports cite this report:

Axis Criticizes OEMs: "When You Buy An Axis Camera, An Axis Camera Is What You Get!" on May 19, 2017
When you buy a Honeywell camera, you likely get a Hikvision, Dahua or some other company's product. The same goes for easily 100 different...
Dahua Backdoor Uncovered on Mar 06, 2017
A major cyber security vulnerability across many Dahua products has been discovered by an independent researcher, reported on IPVM, verified by...
Directory of Video Surveillance Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities and Exploits on Nov 16, 2016
This list compiles reported exploits for security products, and is updated regularly. We have summarized exploits by date and by manufacturer,...
1 New Acquisition Per Year Planned for Qognify (Former Nice Security) on Aug 23, 2016
Want to be acquired? Qognify, the former Nice Security Group, has big money behind it and the plans for multiple acquisitions. In this note, we...
Axis OrwellLabs Exploit Tested on Jul 29, 2016
Another exploit has been reported for Axis cameras (OrwellLabs AXIS Authenticated Remote Command Execution), less than a month after Axis critical...
Axis Camera Hack Tested on Jul 21, 2016
Full disclosure by the researcher of the Axis critical security vulnerability has been made. But what does this mean? Does it even work? What can...
Axis, Pay Integrators To Fix Your Critical Defect on Jul 14, 2016
Axis should pay integrators to fix Axis' recent disclosed critical security vulnerability / defect.  There are millions of Axis cameras deployed...
IPVM Site Goes All HTTPS, Largest 3 Manufacturers Do Not [Axis, Dahua Fixed] on Jul 12, 2016
IPVM.com now serves all pages over HTTPS to improve security and privacy. However, a number of video surveillance manufacturers do not, including...
Axis Boasts Kicking Arecont Out of Google on Jul 11, 2016
Axis has displaced Arecont as the standard IP camera for Google, boasts Axis. Inside, we examine Axis statement, Arecont's response and what this...
Interview With Researcher Who Cracked Security Of 70+ DVR Brands on Jul 07, 2016
The researcher who found an exploit in 70+ brands of DVRs, which he suspected to be the entry point hackers used to gain access to several...
Network Security for IP Video Surveillance Guide 2016 on Feb 03, 2016
Keeping surveillance networks secure can be a daunting task, but there are several methods that can greatly reduce risk, especially when used in...
Remote Network Access for Video Surveillance on Mar 13, 2015
Remotely accessing video is difficult for 3 reasons. Private Networks: Almost all video surveillance uses private IP addresses, that are by...
Comments (29): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Avigilon New COO James Henderson Profile on May 23, 2017
It has been nearly 2 years since the infamous Bryan Schmode 'resigned' as Avigilon COO. Now, Avigilon once again has a COO, promoting James...
Aura's 'Invisible Ripple' Next Gen Intrusion Detection Tested on May 22, 2017
Aura Home is a startup intrusion detection system, but it claims new, high-tech sensing that monitors the 'invisible ripples' movement creates,...
Pelco Shutting Down Clovis Line, Laying Off 200 on May 22, 2017
Pelco's Clovis facility once turned out some of the industry's most popular products. Now, the facility is mostly building "obsolete" equipment,...
IP Camera - 15 Year Shootout on May 22, 2017
How far have IP cameras come? We bought and tested 4 cameras across the past 15 years to understand how much and where performance has...
Remote Video Monitoring Providers Directory on May 19, 2017
Remote video monitoring can help integrators generate RMR plus end users lower their security costs and/or improve response to critical...
Axis Criticizes OEMs: "When You Buy An Axis Camera, An Axis Camera Is What You Get!" on May 19, 2017
When you buy a Honeywell camera, you likely get a Hikvision, Dahua or some other company's product. The same goes for easily 100 different...
Hackable 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide on May 19, 2017
Despite being one of the most popular credentials, 125 kHz credentials are easily copied and insecure as we showed in our test results, video...
Forget The Backdoor, "ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS" On Sale on May 18, 2017
Less than 2 weeks after the Hikvision Backdoor was confirmed, Hikvision has launched a sale "ON ALL HIKVISION PRODUCTS". In this note, we examine...
Amazon Techs Installing IP Cameras Tested on May 18, 2017
In 2015, Amazon started offering video surveillance installation. Now, Amazon has made it a lot easier, with automatic add-on options and...

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