Axis Hides Exploit Danger

Author: John Honovich, Published on Aug 09, 2016

Axis is hiding the severity and danger of the 'remote string format' vulnerability.

We ask Axis to fully communicate the risks of the released 'Hack Axis' program to Axis users and urge everyone with Axis devices to upgrade them immediately. 

Exploit Danger

The danger is that a working 'Hack Axis' program was released 3 weeks ago. This programs allows:

  • Root access to Axis devices, without having to know or figure out the password (regardless of how hard the password is).
  • Changing the Axis web password, with a simple additional command, to get full control of video and configuration
  • Turning Axis devices into botnets to attack computers throughout the world.
  • Hijacking Axis devices that continues even after they are upgraded to 'fix' the exploit and even after a factory reset, allowing continued malicious access and control. This was tested with a researcher who did this to an IPVM Axis device, which we verified. 

Axis stresses the main 'limitation' is that one needs network access to the camera, which is true, but undermines that mistakes can occur that allow devices to be remotely accessible and that many contractors, including competitors, often have access to internal systems. And, of course, the tens of thousands of Axis devices made publicly available are extremely at risk.

Axis Communications Failure

Axis has never communicated that a working 'Hack Axis' program has been released and shared across Internet hacking sites. It is now 3 weeks since this was done and Axis has done nothing to communicate that or correct their existing erroneous communications.

(1) The Axis FAQ on this issue declares:

[Update Aug 12th: Axis has edited the FAQ to remove this claim.]

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

But the vulnerability has been disclosed and is widely known and available on many cybersecurity / hacking sites, including the Exploit Database.

(2) The Axis corporate press release states:

 

Unfortunately for Axis users, Axis has not updated that release nor issued any subsequent release making it clear that not only it is disclosed but the working program allowing for exploitation is released.

(3) Axis has a CVE report which at least mentions the appropriate term exploit:

Three weeks after it was disclosed, Axis still has not updated this.

[Update Aug 12th: 24 days after the disclosure Axis has issued a new CVE report where they acknowledge the full exploit and the available Python script.]

In sum, Axis, after initial limited announcement and no communication about a full working program being released, is now completely ignoring the issue. We emailed Axis management multiple times about these concerns in addition to previous posts that raised them, without any action from Axis.

Axis Take Responsibility

Axis, please immediately fix all of your documentation and then issue a new release and email blasts explaining that a working Hack Axis program does exist and is widely available for hackers and your competitors to take advantage.

Exploits happen to everyone. We agree with Axis engineering team that this was a very hard / obscure exploit to find. That it happened should not be a black eye for Axis.

Axis is great at communication... when they want to. But how Axis has (not) communicated this is inappropriate, leaving Axis partners and customers at significant risk. Axis certainly wants to be a leader in cybersecurity. This exploit should not undermine that. But failing to properly inform your users of the full risk absolutely should.

2 reports cite this report:

History of Video Surveillance on Sep 22, 2016
This is a concise history of video surveillance covering the past decade.  The goal is to help professionals newer to the industry understand...
Dahua Distributor Angered "Always Give Good News About Hikvision" on Aug 11, 2016
A Dahua distributor is angry that "IPVM always give good news about HIKvision while destroys Dahua." I can understand the frustration, not of...
Comments (6) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Most Recent Industry Reports

Genetec Takes Aim At 'Untrustworthy' 'Foreign Government-Owned Vendors' on Sep 24, 2018
Genetec is taking aim at 'untrustworthy' 'foreign government-owned vendors'. This is not a new theme for Genetec as nearly 2 years ago, Genetec...
4MP Camera Shootout - Axis, Dahua, DW, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Sep 24, 2018
4MP usage continues to climb, especially for low cost fixed lens models. To see who was best, we bought and tested seven 4MP models from Axis,...
Alexa Guard Expands Amazon's Security Offerings, Boosts ADT's Stock on Sep 21, 2018
Amazon is expanding their security offerings yet again, this time with Alexa Guard that delivers security audio analytics and a virtual "Fake...
UTC, Owner of Lenel, Acquires S2 on Sep 20, 2018
UTC now owns two of the biggest access control providers, one of integrator's most hated access control platforms, Lenel, and one of their...
BluePoint Aims To Bring Life-Safety Mind-Set To Police Pull Stations on Sep 20, 2018
Fire alarm pull stations are commonplace but police ones are not. A self-funded startup, BluePoint Alert Solutions is aiming to make police pull...
SIA Plays Dumb On OEMs And Hikua Ban on Sep 20, 2018
OEMs widely pretend to be 'manufacturers', deceiving their customers and putting them at risk for cybersecurity attacks and, soon, violation of US...
Axis Vs. Hikvision IR PTZ Shootout on Sep 20, 2018
Hikvision has their high-end dual-sensor DarkfighterX. Axis has their high-end concealed IR Q6125-LE. Which is better? We bought both and tested...
Avigilon Announces AI-Powered H5 Camera Development on Sep 19, 2018
Avigilon will be showcasing "next-generation AI" at next week's ASIS GSX. In an atypical move, the company is not actually releasing these...
Favorite Request-to-Exit (RTE) Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 19, 2018
Request To Exit devices like motion sensors and lock releasing push-buttons are a part of almost every access install, but who makes the equipment...
25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...

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