Dahua ‘Duplicitous’ Says Botnet Victim

By: 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 Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

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 [link no longer available] 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) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

China DVR/NVR Backdoor Discovered, Huawei Refutes on Feb 07, 2020
A backdoor was found in Chinese-produced DVRs and NVRs that secretly allowed access to the recorders. While it was first attributed to Huawei...
Dahua New Critical Vulnerability 2019 on Sep 23, 2019
Dahua has quietly admitted 5 new vulnerabilities including 1 critical vulnerability with a 9.8 / 10.0 CVSS score and 2 high vulnerabilities (scored...
Uniview OEM Directory on Sep 11, 2019
This directory lists 20+ companies that OEM products from Uniview, with a graphic and links to company websites below. It does not cover all...
3 Weeks Later, Honeywell Still Cannot Say Whether They Are Vulnerable To Dahua Wiretapping [Now Admits] on Aug 27, 2019
The Dahua wiretapping vulnerability and Dahua's decision to delay disclosing it until IPVM inquired underscored problems with cybersecurity and...
Critical Vulnerability Across 18+ Network Switch Vendors: Cisco, Netgear, More on Aug 26, 2019
Cisco, Netgear and more than a dozen other brands, including small Asian ones, have been found to share the same critical vulnerability, discovered...
Dahua OEM Directory on Aug 16, 2019
US Government banned Dahua OEMs for dozens of companies. The following directory includes 40+ of those companies with a graphic and links to...
Hikvision OEM Directory on Aug 13, 2019
The Chinese government-owned and US-government banned Hikvision has become the world's largest video surveillance manufacturer and generally hidden...
Honeywell Speaks On NDAA Ban, New Non-Banned Cameras and Cybersecurity on Aug 06, 2019
For years, Honeywell has depended on Dahua, a company with a poor cybersecurity track record and now banned by the US NDAA, for the development and...
Dahua Wiretapping Vulnerability on Aug 02, 2019
IPVM has validated, with testing, and from Dahua, that many Dahua cameras have a wiretapping vulnerability. Even if the camera's audio has been...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...

Most Recent Industry Reports

USA's Feevr Thermal Temperature System Examined on Mar 31, 2020
This US company has burst on to the scene, brashly naming itself 'feevr' and branding itself as a "COVID 19 - AI BASED NON CONTACT THERMAL...
JCI Coronavirus Cuts on Mar 31, 2020
JCI has made coronavirus cuts, the company told employees in an email that IPVM has reviewed. Inside this note, we examine the cuts made, the...
Add Door Operators To Fight Coronavirus on Mar 31, 2020
IPVM recommends that integrators advocate and end-users consider adding door operators to fight the spread of coronavirus. This delivers...
Video Surveillance Business 101 on Mar 30, 2020
This report explains the fundamental elements of the video surveillance business for those new to the industry. This is part of our Video...
FDA Gives Guidance on 'Coronavirus' Thermal Fever Detection Systems on Mar 30, 2020
The US FDA has given IPVM guidance on the use of thermal fever detection systems being marketed for coronavirus, as an explosion of such devices...
Worsen: Integrators Hit Even Harder By Coronavirus on Mar 30, 2020
Integrator's problems have worsened over the past 2 weeks, according to new IPVM survey results. Inside this report, we share statistics and...
Pivot3 Mass Layoffs on Mar 27, 2020
Pivot3 has conducted mass layoffs, the culmination of grand hopes, a quarter of a billion dollars in VC funding, and multiple failures to gain...
Athena CEO Criticizes 'Deplorable' 'Nitpicking', IPVM Refutes on Mar 27, 2020
UPDATE: NBC News Report Cites IPVM On Coronavirus 'Fever Detection' Cameras Athena Security's CEO Lisa Falzone has strongly objected to IPVM's...
Hikvision Admits Sanctions Harming Its Financial Performance on Mar 27, 2020
While Hikvision initially downplayed being sanctioned for human rights abuses, the company is now admitting a significant impact in a new PRC...