Google Breaks Surveillance Browser Support

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Sep 09, 2015

Now you have a choice.

Broken video surveillance web browser support or an insecure, prone to crashing interface.

As Google has been warning for ~2 years, Chrome has now discontinued NPAPI support. Amazingly many video surveillance manufacturers have been impacted by this, some severely

Inside, we share our test results on which browser implementations still work and to what extent, covering Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, Dahua, Hikvision, Samsung, Exacq, Genetec and Milestone.

*** *** **** * choice.

****** ***** ************ *** browser ******* ** ** insecure, ***** ** ******** interface.

** ****** *** **** warning *** ~* *****,****** *** *** ************************. ********* **** ***** surveillance ************* **** **** impacted ** ****, **** severely

******, ** ***** *** test ******* ** ***** browser *************** ***** **** and ** **** ******, covering ****, ********, *****, Dahua, *********, *******, *****, Genetec *** *********.

[***************]

*******

*** ***** **********, *********** ****** *********** *********** Interface*** ********** ** *** 90s, *********** *** ***** standard ****** *** ******** browser *******, **** ******** used *** ***** *** video *********.

********'* ***** ** ****** NPAPI ******* **** ************** ** ********* ** 2013, ****** ***** *** security ********:

"*****’* ******** *** ********, safer, *** **** ******* than ***** *********. *********, NPAPI’s ***-*** ************ *** become * ******* ***** of *****, *******, ******** incidents, *** **** **********."

** ***** ****, ***** were ******** **** **** were ***** * ****** that ***** **** ** disabled, ** ** ******* to *** ********** ** avoid ***** *******.

****, ***** ******* **** disabled ** *******, ******* users ** ****** ******* settings ** ****** ** continue ***** ****.

*******, ** ********* ****, in ******* ** ** Google ******, ***** ******* was ******* *******.

Why **** ** * *******

******* ********* *** ***** of ********, **** ************ manufacturers **** *** ******* their *** ********** ** use***-***** *******, ********* **** ******** or ********* *** *** interface ************ ** ******.

***** *** ***** ******* this ** * *******:

  1. **** ****** *** ******:****** ********* **** ****** as *** **** ******* browser *********, **** ***** 50% ****** *****.
  2. ******** ******** ***** ******** or *** ** ****:*** ** ********* ** policy, **** ***** *** not *** ** ** all, ** ** *** be ******* ** ***** versions.
  3. ** *********** ************:**** *** ******* ** Windows ** *** ***** new **** *******, ********* has ******* *********** ** new ** ********, *** support **** ** ******* to ******* ******** ****. Not **** ****** **, Edge **** *** ******* ActiveX.

Impact ** ****** ***

** *******, ***** ****** expect **** *.*** ***** will ** ****** **** in ******. ** ******* cameras **** ****, *********, Sony, *****, *********, ********, and ***** *** **** supported *.*** ********* ***** Chrome.

**** **** ********* ****** support ** ******* **:

  • ********:** ******. ***** ********* only.
  • ****:*.*** ********* *** ***********. MJPEG ********* ****.
  • *****:** ******. ***** ********* only.
  • *****:**** ***** *** *** config *** *********** ** web ********* ***** ******.
  • *********:** **** *****, ***** config, ** ******** ******** available ** ****** **+.
  • *********:** ******. ***** ********* only. ****** ******** ******** Explorer.
  • *******:*** ********* *** ********** unavailable.
  • ****:** ******. ***** ********* only.

** ******* **** ** more ****** *****, ****** from **** ** ***** affected ** ******'* ******* of ***** *******:

******:*****

** ***** *******, ** live ***** ** ********* and ***** *** *** configure ****** *********. ***** settings *** ** *******.

** ***** (*** ***, such ** *** ********* NVR *****) ****/****, ***** may *** *** **** the *** ********* ** all:

******: *********

** **** ***** ** available ** ********* ***** Chrome. ************, **** ******** such ** ***** ************* and **** ******** ******* do *** ****. ***** must *** ** **** an ********* ****** *** proper ***.

********* *** ********* ******** ** Hikvision, ****** ******* **** be **-******* ** ******** firmware ********, ******** *** Q4 ****.

******* ********* ** ********* to ********* **** *** effective ********* ** *** customers, ** *** ******* to ****** *** ******** for *** ******** ** they **** ** ********** with ****** ***** *******. This ********, ***** **** require * ******** ******* on ****, ****, *** IP *******, **** ** rolled *** ** ******** below. ****** **** ********** period, *** ******** **** continue ** ******* **** other ******** **** ** Internet ********, ******, *** Firefox.

******: *******

******* ******* ****** *** user **** *** ********* plugin ** *** *********, despite ** ******** ***** installed. **** ***** ********* installation, *** **** ******* is *********. ***** ** no *** ** ****** the *** ********* ******* the ****** *********, ******* users ** *** **.

********: ****

****** ***** *** *** unable ** **** *.*** video. ***** *** ***** be ****. **** **** Axis *** ****** ******** Internet ******** *** **** configuration (****** *********, ****** applications, ***.).

** ******: ********

******* *************' *** *** are *** ******** ** NPAPI's *******, ** **** use **** ***** *** video ** **** ***** worked ** ******:

  • ********:********'* ****** ** ** unchanged ** ****** **, as ** **** **** MJPEG *** **** *****, not *.***.
  • *****:*.*** ***** ** *********** in ******, ** ** requires ** ******* ******. MJPEG ********* ***** ** Chrome ******* *******.
  • *********:********* **** *** ******* H.264 ***** ** ****** configuration ** ******. ***** video ** *********.
  • ****:**** **** *** ******* live *.*** ***** ** Chrome. ***** ** *********. Users **** *** ** to ********* ******.

VMS *** ****** ******

** ******** ** ****** UIs, ***** ******* *** impact *** *** *******, though ******** *** ********** we ***** ** *** tested **** ** **** they **** ******* ************ away **** ***** ******* for *** ****** ***. Just *** ********:

*****

*****'* *** ****** ***** properly ** ****** ******* 45, ********* ** *******.

*******

*** ******* ******** ****** web ****** ***** ******** in ****** **** ** plugins ********, ***** ***** is **** *** ********* video. *******, *******'* ****** Admin (**** ** ******** and ****** ********, ******* MS *** ******, *** other ***-***** ***** *****) uses ********* ***********, ***** is ** ****** ********* by ******. **** ***** was ***** ** * machine **** *********** *********:

*********

**** *******, ********* **** MJPEG *** *** ****** streaming, ********* ** *******. The ********* ****** *** client ***** ** ******** in ****** ******* **.

H.264 *********

** ** ******** ** stream *.*** ***** ******* NPAPI *******. ** ****** describes ** *** ***** deprecation *****, **** *******:

  • ***** ***** ********.******** ********************* * **** ***** platform ******* **************. **** *********** *** cases *** ** ******** using ********** (*** ******* ***** out ******** ** ****** **********).

  • ******.********* ******** *** **** time ************* ******* ***** and *** ********** *** also ** **** *** applications **** **** ********* media *** ****. ******’*********** ********** ****** ** ****** HD ***** ******* * browser *** **.

**** ** ******* ***** surveillance ********** ******* ******* these ******* ** ** seen.

Comments (35)

Which is why I love Firefox so much ;)

Bah, Firefox is slow. I haven't used Firefox in a while though...

Btw, anyone with any other cameras to report, please share.

The Fox may not be quick but it's better than nothing. Give it a try and stop using Netscape 4.0.

We (VXG) offer a replacement for VLC or NAPI based plug-ins. The VXG plug-in is based on NaCL/PNaCL architecture that is native for Chrome. For those who are interested, we have a demo page here:

http://rtpstream.com/nacl_player/

or you can read more about the plug-in here:

http://www.videoexpertsgroup.com/chrome-media-player-plug-in/

Konstantin,

What codecs does that support? H.264? MPEG-4? etc.

It looks like I need to install the player as an app on Chrome?

How / what price do you license this to companies?

John,

The plug-in supports H.264, MPEG-4, MPEG-2 video, AAC, G.711, PCM, MP3 audio. Supported streaming formats are RTSP, RTMP, HLS and MMS.

The plug-in requires VXG Player Chrome app. It is installed when you first time run the plug-in.

We license the plug-in and offer its customization to companies. The license is one time fee per hosting or per product.

If I have to ask how much it costs, I probably can't afford it...

Please fill the form on

http://www.videoexpertsgroup.com/chrome-media-player-plug-in/

and we'll contact you regarding the pricing shortly.

Does it require changes to the HTML/DOM/JavaScript or is it a 100% drop in replacement for the existing plugins?

It's easy to replace, however minimal changes in the javascript will be required if you move from an old NPAPI plug-in. You can see the client's code on our test page.

Samsung cameras can also run in Firefox, so IE is not "required".

I can't open up Axis equipment in IE for ages now without switching to and older version using F12. All I see when logging in is the header, and nothing more.
Which is why I have been using Chrome for those for quite some time. It's going to be annoying not being able to use that either as well.

The problem with the Samsung not installing is quite annoying as well.
I keep having to switch between IE and Chrome to get the functions on the camera's, which is, in these times, quite humiliating.

This is why solutions written using no plugins are preferable. All HTML and Javascript is the way. For video that hasn't traditionally been very feasible, but HTML5 is starting to change that. We're not all the way there yet, but you can now play video natively with no plugin, there are several manufacturers doing that now for certain applications. The 500 lb gorilla YouTube moved from Flash to HTML5 as their default last winter.

Dadgum it surveillance manufacturers, make it work. BTW, I still prefer firefox over Chrome myself. Just seems solid. I have no scientific proof to back this up, just a very uneducated opinion. Maybe its because surveillance stuff never really worked well in chrome.

Je suis Infosec.

5+ years ago I started looking at physical security networks. The first time they told me to let some scruffy old Axis camera download software into the browser in my computer in my command center I almost tossed my cookies all over the keyboard. That style went out with using uncovered Mason Jars to store kerosene.

Of course everybody told me to hush because that's how things are done in Physical Security.

Guess what? It sucked then, it was architecturally irresponsible, and now the people who bought (not the people who built) those bad architectures are paying. Don't look to your IT buddies for sympathy on this.

It sucked then, it was architecturally irresponsible, and now the people who bought (not the people who built) those bad architectures are paying.

Shortsighted developers, what were they thinking? If they could have just done the right thing and waited 10 or 15 years for HTML 5 to come out, we'd be a lot better off today.

Lol, that's a bad argument!

Sure, doing it 5 or 10 years early would be stupid. However, HTML5 is now mainstream and surveillance manufacturers had a good year's notice that this (NPAPI discontinuation) was going to happen but did nothing. Yes? No?

I agree with you, they (meaning both users and developers) have had plenty of warning that this was coming.

I was only reacting to the perfect hindsight of

It sucked then, it was architecturally irresponsible, and now the people who bought (not the people who built) those bad architectures are paying.

Rodney, You are WELL known for complaining yet never providing an answer/solution to the problem you are complaining about. What would have been your solution for native MPEG4/H.264 video in the browser 5 years ago and then what for today?

The corporation finally moved to IE11 last week and now we can't open some (about 50/50 depending on the model from the looks of things) of our AXIS cameras in H.264 anymore. Well, unless we want to run them using QuickTime which looks like crap and doesn't have the features. I was hoping we could use Chrome, but obviously not! Dang. Firefox already only works with QuickTime so where can I turn to open our cameras using AMC?

Just wait until you go to Windows 10 and get the Edge browser from MSFT, you'll be wishing for IE11...

Lucekly you can open it in IE11 as well. It's an option in Edge.

Do you know any VMS or camera product streaming live H264/MPEG4 to a browser in a HTML5 / javascript manner (without plugins), that works the same way at least in Firefox and Chrome?

Every solution that I know is still using Flash, Silverlight, VLC plugin, ActiveX, or a method that doesn't fit both browsers.

This solution is transcoding video to JPEG snapshots. This is not H264/MPEG4 live streaming. The are a lot of cons for this approach: server will have to decode and re-encode all video (very CPU intensive, not scalable), image quality and bandwidth requirements will be worse, etc.

You can check yourself using Chrome developer tools:

Jpeg snapshots in Chrome

Tested in Chrome version 45 and Firefox version 40.

Wagner, yes, agree with your analysis. From what I know, all the large brand VMSes are transcoding first to MJPEG (which is resource intensive and requires adding in another VMS component).

I do not know of a VMS that sends 'straight' H.264 video to web clients. I am sure it's going to happen at some point and there may be very well be a few who do that but it's certainly uncommon, at best, now.

Good call, Wagner!

It should be possible to stream h.264 directly to an html 5 page using DASH with MSE, no?

I don't know much about DASH/MSE, but looks like youtube is using it to live stream h264 (pure HTML solution). Tested with Chrome and Firefox, watching live TV from some public channels.

Related news: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/2/9252753/alliance-for-open-media-next-generation-codec

My pain has been with updates on IE. I usually only need the browser for that part of camera config that isn't handled by the VMS (Genetec). Of the brands I use, Panasonic cameras (eg. WV-SC588) have been the most difficult to bust into. I don't even care about an image anymore, I just want to control all the settings. Compatibility view ... install viewer .... wait ... click .... wait ....finally ... maybe ... Thoughts?

Panasonic has been the most frustrating and archaic IP camera web interface I've ever used. So, yes, you are not alone there. Not sure what to say outside of hoping that one day they modernize their camera web interface.

Thanks, John, the solidarity is nice. At least I'm not losing my mind, then.

Panasonic has been the most frustrating and archaic IP camera web interface I've ever used.

My confidence is high that you have never had to use the Toshiba web interface. ;)

Toshiba makes IP cameras...

I know they do, I just rarely hear someone use them.

You're in luck, here's a link to a Toshiba's live public camera lab. I actually had the PTZ at the bottom going pretty nicely.

Question, do many manufacturers host their cameras with open access for all? I remember Axis and Avigilon having something, but it seems like a good idea, (if your stuff works).

Have it reset to default every hour, and let everybody have at it.

White-hat hacker bots might change your channel descriptions trying to warn you, but who cares?

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