Dahua ‘Duplicitous’ Says Botnet Victim

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Oct 11, 2016

The victim of the record-breaking botnet, Brian Krebs, is calling Dahua duplicitous in its statements about the Mirai botnet. He says Dahua should bear more responsibility for enabling this botnet and that they are more at fault, for making poorly secured devices, than the unsuspecting users who purchased them.

We examine the validity of Dahua's statements, and Krebs' position on IoT device security.

Krebs Background

Brian Krebs is a well-known journalist within the cybersecurity community. Ironically, he first gained an interest in cyber security after having his home PC attacked by a Chinese hacker group in 2001. 15 years later, his website, Krebs On Security was attacked by a network of Chinese cameras.

Dahua's Statements

Dahua has been attempting to deflect the blame for this botnet to their customers, issuing statements to multiple publications, with 3 key points:

The devices were using firmware dating prior to January 2015.
The devices were using the default user name and password.
The devices were exposed to the internet without the protection of an effective network firewall.

Also, Dahua has claimed:

To the best of our knowledge, the DDoS [distributed denial-of-service attacks] threats have not affected any Dahua-branded devices deployed or sold in North America.

Krebs' Analysis

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

Krebs calls Dahua's statements duplicitous because Dahua chide's users for not changing usernames/passwords, yet hard-codes those credentials in its products:

Dahua’s statement that devices which were enslaved as part of the DDoS botnet were likely operating under the default password is duplicitous, given that threats like Mirai spread via Telnet and because the default password can’t effectively be changed.

In addition, Krebs points to a Flashpoint statistic that shows a large number of the infected Dahua devices were in fact in North America.

Dahua's Twisted Reality

When Dahua says Dahua-branded devices were not affected they mean only those sold through Dahua's official USA entity, which has only existed since early 2015, after firmware had been updated to remove telnet capabilities. In this statement, Dahua is selectively ignoring hundreds of thousands of devices carrying the Dahua brand sold into the US through channels like Amazon or Ali-Express. That these devices were not sold through official distributors does not make their poor security excusable.

The devices with hard-coded passwords that Krebs refers to are Dahua products sold through OEM's under OEM brands. These are not "Dahua-branded", but they were sold through Dahua-authorized distributors, and they contained hard-coded passwords that these distributors may not have initially been aware of, and that users were unable to change.

Ultimate Responsibility Lies With Dahua

This botnet exists because Dahua shipped a product with horrible security by any modern standard. While owners of infected Dahua-manufactured cameras could have potentially better secured their devices, hard-coded credentials and back-door console access via telnet or SSH has been considered flawed security for over a decade. Including these weaknesses, and not disclosing them to customers, shows poor decision making on Dahua's part.

Hopefully other security manufacturers are learning from this incident and moving to eliminate these product flaws if they still exist.

Is Dahua Being Duplicitous About The Attack?

1 report cite this report:

Chinese Company Xiongmai Threatens Legal Action Against Western Accusers on Oct 24, 2016
The Chinese video surveillance manufacturer, Xiongmai, whose equipment numerous sources blame for driving massive Internet attacks over the past...
Comments (18) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Last Chance - Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Jan 10, 2019
Today is the last day to register for the Winter 2019 IP Networking course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...
Bosch VDOO 2018 Vulnerability on Dec 20, 2018
Security research firm VDOO has discovered a critical vulnerability in Bosch IP cameras. Inside, we cover the available details of this new...
Genetec UL Cybersecurity Certificate (2900-2-3) Examined on Dec 19, 2018
Proving a company is cybersecure has become a major concern for security companies. But how trustworthy are these certificates? Earlier in 2018, a...
Scam Research And The $86 Billion IP Camera Market on Dec 19, 2018
Scam. The most widely cited research numbers in many, if not most, industries come from a growing number of Indian 'market research firms'. We...
This Brooklyn Storefont Sells Millions In Uniview And Hikvision on Dec 18, 2018
Looking at their Brooklyn headquarters for this "CCTV Manufacturer", it is not much: Inside, it is not better: However, this company is one...
AV Tech Company Profile on Dec 07, 2018
Taiwanese manufacturer AV Tech's revenue declined ~70% since 2012. Planning a comeback, AV Tech spoke to IPVM about their opportunities and...
SS&Si Claims To Be "The New Face of Security Distribution" on Dec 03, 2018
Can 27-year-old Jake Voll disrupt the security distribution giants? He has positioned his company SS&Si as the 'NEW FACE' of...
No GDPR Penalties For UK Swann 'Spying Hack' on Nov 20, 2018
The UK’s data protection agency has closed its investigation into Infinova-owned Swann Security UK, the ICO confirmed to IPVM, deciding to take “no...
Axis: "No One Wants To Buy A Camera" on Nov 09, 2018
Axis has, in its own description, made a bold declaration: The industry is changing so rapidly that the following statement might seem bold but...
HID: Stop Selling Cracked 125 kHz Credentials on Nov 05, 2018
HID should stop selling cracked 125 kHz access control credentials, that have been long cracked and can easily be copied by cheap cloners sold on...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Access Control Cabling Tutorial on Jan 15, 2019
Access Control is only as reliable as its cables. While this aspect lacks the sexiness of other components, it remains a vital part of every...
Gorilla Technology AI Provider, Raises $15 Million, Profiled on Jan 15, 2019
Gorilla Technology is a Taiwanese video analytics manufacturer that recently announced a $15 million investment from SBI Group, saying this...
2019 IP Networking Book Released on Jan 14, 2019
The new IP Networking Book 2019 is a 285 page in-depth guide that teaches you how IT and telecom technologies impact modern security...
Arecont Costar Layoffs on Jan 14, 2019
Arecont Vision, a Costar Company, has laid off more than 10% of their workforce in a move the company described to IPVM as a result of "important...
The False SCMP Story on Hikvision NYC AI on Jan 14, 2019
In the past week, one of Asia's largest publications, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), posted an article about "Chinese [facial recognition]...
WDR Tutorial on Jan 11, 2019
Understanding wide dynamic range (WDR) is critical to capturing high quality images in demanding conditions. However, with no real standards, any...
Pelco Favorability Results 2019 on Jan 11, 2019
Pelco had a significant favorability problem amongst integrators in our previous study (see 2016 Pelco results). Now, in the first edition of our...
Bad: Dahua Villa Video Doorbell Tested on Jan 11, 2019
Doorbells are one of the hottest segments in the residential market but Dahua's Villa Video Doorbell is the worst we have tested.   We bought and...
Last Chance - Winter 2019 IP Networking Course on Jan 10, 2019
Today is the last day to register for the Winter 2019 IP Networking course. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video...

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