Hikvision Backdoor Confirmed

Author: Brian Karas, Published on May 08, 2017

The US Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) has issued an advisory for vulnerabilities to Hikvision cameras, crediting and confirming the work of researcher Montecrypto who originally disclosed the backdoor in Hikvision cameras.

Backdoor Disclosure

On March 5, 2017, Montecrypto declared:

I would like to confirm that there is a backdoor in many popular Hikvision products that makes it possible to gain full admin access to the device.

Confirming one week later that:

One can remotely escalate their privileges from anonymous web surfer to admin.

DHS Advisory On Hikvision

The US Department of Homeland Security gave the Hikvision cameras its worst / highest score - a 10.0 out of 10.0 - confirming that it is "remotely exploitable/low skill level to exploit" for "improper authentication." Moreover, DHS additionally confirmed a "password in configuration file", scoring it a critical 8.8 out of 10.0.

Hikvision Response

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

On March 12, Hikvision sent a notice of a 'privilege escalating vulnerability' and issued firmware upgrades for 200+ Hikvision IP cameras addressing the vulnerabilities. IPVM estimates easily millions of cameras have these vulnerabilities given Hikvision's own regular declarations of shipping tens of millions of cameras.

On May 4, Hikvision sent an update on that notice declaring:

Hikvision is honored to work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in our ongoing cybersecurity best practice efforts.

Grey Market No Solution

No solution is available for those who have bought 'grey market' Hikvision cameras as, depending on the variant, upgrading firmware could revert the device, be blocked or brick the camera.

No Fix Yet For Password In Config File

The DHS advisory also notes:

Hikvision has not mitigated the password in configuration file vulnerability.

It is not clear if or when Hikvision will fix this.

No Proof Of Concept Released But Verified

While the US DHS has verified these vulnerabilities, no proof of concept code has been released for them. The lack of one should reduce the amount of exploits.

Hikvision users should certainly take this seriously and upgrade all devices. In describing this exploit to IPVM when it was first discovered, montecrypto stated:

If you can access login screen, you can log in as an admin or event recover admin's password without knowing it.

"No Backdoors" Claim

In early 2017, Hivision declared that:

Hikvision never has, does or would intentionally contribute to the placement of “backdoors” in its products.

The company will likely argue that this backdoor is not intentional though this depends on trusting them since verifying intent is difficult.

Hikvision Previous Hardening Efforts

Since 2015, Hikvision has made multiple statements about its commitment to cyber security, in response to previous incidents, in a special Security Center Website section, and establishing a Network and Information Security Lab and engaging security audit firm Rapid7. Despite these stated efforts to improve cybersecurity, these vulnerabilities lasted into 2017 and the report of the independent researcher montecrypto.

Track Record of Hikvision Cybersecurity Problems

Hikvision has a long history of cybersecurity vulnerabilities affecting their products:

In the 2016 Cyber Security For Video Surveillance Study, integrators gave Hikvision the worst cyber security rating among manufacturers. While Dahua's own backdoor will give Hikvision competition, Hikvision's new vulnerabilities here will increase their own challenges.

16 reports cite this report:

Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 03, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...
Fortune 500 Company Bars Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 30, 2017
A Fortune 500 company has barred Dahua and Hikvision cameras from a large RFP due to cyber security concerns, IPVM has confirmed with the...
Hikvision VMS Password Recovery Vulnerability on Aug 28, 2017
Hikvision iVMS-4200 suffers from a vulnerability that allows anyone local, without authentication, to generate a code that Hikvision will respond...
Hikvision USA Head of Cybersecurity Exits on Jul 18, 2017
Hikvision USA's Head of Cybersecurity has exited the company. In this note, we review the move, share Hikvision's feedback and examine the...
Hikvision Hits Record 'ALL PRODUCTS' Sales Run on Jun 30, 2017
Hikvision has a new record. This one is for the most times a video surveillance manufacturer has put all their products on sale in 2 months....
Hikvision: IPVM Is "Destined To Fail" on Jun 14, 2017
Hikvision has accused IPVM of 'cyberbullying' them, declaring IPVM 'destined to fail.' This is the 3rd anti-IPVM Hikvision post in 2 weeks,...
Morten Tor Nielsen Defends Hikvision on Jun 12, 2017
Morten Tor Nielsen, veteran software developer for Prescienta working for OnSSI, has posted "In Defence of Hikvision". As Nielsen explains...
Hikvision Hardening Guide Recommends Port Forwarding on Jun 09, 2017
Hikvision's Network Security Hardening Guide recommends port forwarding as a 'standard configuration', highlighted below: In this note, we...
Hikvision Gives IPVM An 'F' on Jun 06, 2017
Two weeks after Hikvision called IPVM 'absolutely unethical' and 'anti-everything', Hikvision has given IPVM, in their words, an 'F'. Hikvision...
Milestone Entry Level Mobile Password Vulnerability Disclosed on May 24, 2017
While many manufacturers have only addressed cybersecurity vulnerabilities after public disclosures were made (or threatened), Milestone has...
Hikvision Marketer Caught Spamming, Fails at Coverup, Fired on May 23, 2017
A Hikvision marketing employee was caught by IPCamTalk trying to surreptitiously disparage IPVM and IPCamTalk. This is an outgrowth of Hikvision's...
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...
Cisco: Hikvision Hired Us on May 16, 2017
The day after Hikvision's backdoor was confirmed by the US Department of Homeland Security, Hikvision issued a press release about a...
Hikvision Blaming Backdoor On Others, Cannot Hide From DHS on May 11, 2017
Numerous Hikvision employees are blaming their backdoor on others but Hikvision cannot hide from the US Department of Homeland Security. Blaming...
Hikvision 'Privilege-Escalating' Security Vulnerability, Actually a Backdoor on Mar 11, 2017
Hikvision has disclosed a new security vulnerability that affects 200+ of their IP cameras over the past few years. In this note, we examine the...
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,...
Comments (66): PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Hacking

Dahua Trying, Struggling To Respond To Hacking Attacks on Oct 04, 2017
Now, 2 weeks since large-scale hacking attacks commenced against Dahua vulnerable devices, we analyze Dahua's response. On the positive side,...
Hikvision USA Misleads Dealers On Backdoor on Oct 03, 2017
Hikvision USA emailed their dealers overnight with their 5th cyber security 'special bulletin' of the year. Misleading Unfortunately, they...
FLIR Thermal Camera Multiple Vulnerabilities, Patch Released on Oct 03, 2017
Multiple cyber security vulnerabilities exist in FLIR thermal cameras, which have not been fixed, despite being reported months ago. In this note,...
Hackers Globally Attacking Dahua Recorders on Sep 25, 2017
Dahua recorders are being hacked and vandalized around the world, as confirmed by dozens of reports to IPVM since the attacks surged 5 days...
September IP Networking Course on Sep 14, 2017
LAST Chance - Registration is ending. Register now. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals...
Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 03, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...
Fortune 500 Company Bars Dahua and Hikvision on Aug 30, 2017
A Fortune 500 company has barred Dahua and Hikvision cameras from a large RFP due to cyber security concerns, IPVM has confirmed with the...
Security Press Wrong About New NY State Video Law on Aug 29, 2017
SecurityInfoWatch wrongly declared: N.Y. governor signs bill outlawing video surveillance of neighbors SDM wrongly affirmed: It is now illegal to...
Hikvision Happy With Bad Security Unless Hit With Bad Press on Aug 28, 2017
Hikvision is happy to have bad cyber security unless they are hit with bad press, as we detail inside. When you look at the pattern of their...
‘Experts' Fail On Dumbo IP Camera ‘Hack' on Aug 24, 2017
Dumbo, revealed by Wikileaks, has become big news. Unfortunately, 'experts' in the security industry have gotten it wrong, incorrectly contending...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Cisco Falling - Favorite Network Switches 2017 on Oct 20, 2017
1 major manufacturer fell and 1 outsider manufacturer gained as integrator favorites for network switches from more than 140 votes / explanations...
Uniview Recorder Backdoor Examined on Oct 20, 2017
A Chinese research group has identified a vulnerability in Uniview recorders that allows backdoor access in a method similar to the Dahua...
Hikvision Access Control Tested on Oct 19, 2017
Hikvision aggressive pricing and marketing combined with generally reliable hardware and free software has made them a major player in video...
Verkada, Silicon Valley VSaaS Startup, Targets Enterprise on Oct 19, 2017
Verkada says they are building an enterprise-class VSaaS offering, calling it "The new platform for video security". This is a departure from the...
Exacq Unbreaks Avigilon Integration on Oct 18, 2017
For nearly 4 years, Exacq had broken and effectively blocked use with Avigilon cameras, as IPVM reported in January 2014. Now, Exacq has...
Search More Important Than Live Monitoring - Statistics on Oct 18, 2017
Search is overall more important than live monitoring to integrators, according to new IPVM statistics.  The key themes found in integrator...
Axis 'Sold Out' P3707-PVE Multi-Imager Tested on Oct 18, 2017
Axis faced significant product shortages over the summer. Perhaps the most notorious and significantly sold out model was the Axis P3707-PE 8MP...
Dahua Removes Auto Rebooting on Oct 17, 2017
For years, Dahua has automatically programmed its IP cameras to reboot weekly, a highly atypical and questionable practice. Following IPVM...
Deep Learning Tutorial For Video Surveillance on Oct 17, 2017
Deep learning is a growing buzzword within physical security and video surveillance. But what is 'deep learning'? In this tutorial, we explain...
Multipoint Lock Access Control Tutorial on Oct 17, 2017
Doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and money can be misspent on wrong locks that leave doors quite vulnerable. While closed and locked...

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