Hikvision Cloud Security Vulnerability Uncovered

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Dec 05, 2016

A security researcher uncovered a critical vulnerability in Hikvision's global cloud servers. This vulnerability allowed an attacker to remotely take over the server and get access to sensitive customer data. This is newer and different than Hikvision's security issues in 2015 and before and has not been disclosed by Hikvision.

Iraklis Mathiopoulos, the researcher who uncovered this, reported the issue to Hikvision, and provided additional perspective to IPVM regarding this issue and Hikvision's handling of it.

Full details of the vulnerability, our analysis of Hikvision's server weakness, and what this means for the security of users with Hikvision cameras on their network is covered in this report.

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Vote - ****

Comments (30)

I swear I didn't vote very! Lol

I swear I didn't vote very!

So you're saying it was definitely Marty then, eh? ;)

With 151 votes so far, the majority is 'Not very', currently at 79% of the tally.

Whoever did vote 'Very' is in a small minority with just 7% of the total.

FTR, I voted moderately. I don't trust anyone more than moderately tho

what is the hikonline.com server used for? I know it's used for DDNS for the cameras, but is it used for anything else?

For standard Hikvision-branded commercial cameras and recorders (the stuff most integrators here would be dealing with) hik-online.com looks to be primarily a DDNS service.

The researcher said his consumer-oriented OEM camera required the cloud server in order to even view live video, similar to how the Ex-Viz systems work, making it much more involved in the user<=>device connection.

POLL: Should Iraklis Mathiopoulos be compensated for his time and efforts by Hikvision? Agree/Disagree.

But he was compensated:

25/9/16: Received my bounty by post. A 69$ cloud camera.

:)

$69? ADI must not have been running a special that week.

He was compensated, in the form of a free camera that would have cost him $69.

The real question is, is Hikvision's response and payment comparable to other bug bounty programs, and does it provide incentive for other white-hat hackers to spend time testing their systems for them?

I will add my opinion that I think the camera he received is almost worse than no payment. It is like Hikvision saying "we have taken the time to value your contribution, and we feel it is worth very little". Hikvision's cost on that $69 camera is surely even less than the retail value.

Another white-hat researcher reading this might say "It's not worth spending time evaluating Hikvision products/platforms because the company will not compensate me appropriately." This leaves those vulnerabilities open to black-hat attackers, who would NOT disclose them to Hikvision, and instead use them for their own financial gain in other ways, which would likely be a much worse scenario for Hikvision's customers.

Hackerone is a platform that helps coordinate and reward vulnerability discovery. According to them:

We recommend a minimum of $100. The average is around $500 and the current record is $30,000

Related, his reaction to Hikvision's cube camera was not positive:

"I will add my opinion that I think the camera he received is almost worse than no payment. It is like Hikvision saying "we have taken the time to value your contribution, and we feel it is worth very little". Hikvision's cost on that $69 camera is surely even less than the retail value."

You are being too nice...this is like leaving a penny as a tip for a waiter in a fine restaurant.

Only assholes do that kind of stuff.

Hikvision's cost on that $69 camera is surely even less than the retail value.

Not after you back out the subsidy ;)

Just a quick update on this, which I haven't put on my blog.

About 2 weeks ago I received an invoice from TNT. I have to pay them something in the region of 40 GBP for import taxes and admin fees. So yes, I actually lost money on this :-)

Iraklis, we paypal'ed you to cover the import taxes and admin fees. No reason you should have to pay to fix a vendor's problems.

Very nice gesture John. Appreciate it.

I have to pay them something in the region of 40 GBP for import taxes...

Ironically, many U.S. integrators would love a $50 import fee on every Hik camera brought in ;)

I think Hikvision's (flawed) perspective is that a researcher publicly disclosing vulnerabilities hurts their reputation more than it helps them improve their security. Therefore they won't promote it.

I think its the lack of a clear security strategy. They had the opportunity to offer me something in return for a NDA. I'm not taking a hit at Hikvision, unfortunately its a very common symptom that can be observed in many organisations.

Any speculation on what the cost to HIK would have been if the vulnerability had led to a high profile security breach?

If I was rating how companies respond to vulnerabilities their response would be as bad as it gets. They are actively discouraging anyone from taking a closer look - and this doesn't sound like it was a complex hack.

It doesn't surprise me that there are security flaws in security products - it does surprise me that companies don't realize that how they respond to a vulnerability is often MORE important than the vulnerability.

Any speculation on what the cost to HIK would have been if the vulnerability had led to a high profile security breach?

Hard to say, but between time spent internally dealing with the issue, potential lost business, etc., it would likely be a pallet-load worth of $69 cameras at a minimum.

...it would likely be a pallet-load worth of $69 cameras at a minimum.

Double pallet now thru Dec 31.

Any speculation on what the cost to HIK would have been if the vulnerability had led to a high profile security breach?

I would not speculate on the specific cost as it would minimally need to know how many accounts were stored there, what information about those accounts was there, etc.

But there is certainly a real cost in terms of reputation with this. Hikvision has spent a lot of money marketing their cybersecurity in response to the last round of issues. Time helps. It is a lot easier to say, "Yes we had problems but those were (approaching) 2 years ago." Now they need to go back out, defend this and answer more questions about their cybersecurity.

a $69 cloud camera...?? Either it is a slap in the face to offer such a low cost consumer camera, or a LOL that it is a cloud camera going to a network security researcher, or they are trying to silence/teach him a lesson. Once the camera phones home, they can try to PWN his network, as they already control the camera that is now inside his network...

Assuming he 1) actually uses it 2) places it at home and 3) isn't inside a giant honeypot....

One Hikvision cloud camera going on e-bay now.

You think Rapid7 limited response is that what they did was not checking the cloud service, but only perhaps Hikvision professional IPC?

Or does it seems Rapid7 is responsible seeing this issue found was and should of been detected by what should of been highly qualified engineers.

I guess no government likes to be found with egg on their face, or in this case with the pants on the floor.

Chinese companies don't like to pay anything for software, so finding something wrong all be it a serious issue, has even less value than a street vendor selling rat on a stick with suspicious sauce.

Or does it seems Rapid7 is responsible seeing this issue found was and should of been detected by what should of been highly qualified engineers.

It is an interesting question. It would certainly help if Hikvision made it clear what Rapid7 has tested, what they found and how frequently they test (do they test each new firmware release, etc., is it cameras only, etc.).

Albeit?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/albeit

Eh, I hate to say it, but I can't imagine Dahua being much better about the situation unless someone twists their arm.

I think though...maybe I should ask them to create clear incentives and maintain a clear line of communication for vulnerability disclosures...

However, that would also assume they would be open about their existing vulnerabilities that they are working to address.

Life would just be so much better if more companies were clear and open about their software development roadmap. I can imagine if any surveillance manufacturer had their crap together like LibreOffice they'd be on top of our collective lists here in a heartbeat.

Or, implement something similar to the GDPR

Few things in life make C level execs more focused than potential multi-million EUR/USD fines.

Iraklis,

Thank you very much for your work on this and for your disclosure. It sounds like you gave Hikvision a fair amount of time to respond, and the fact that they did not, says a lot. Although we do not utilize Hikvision, this should be a wake up call for all other camera and IoT device manufacturers, that there are many White Hat hackers carrying out their own projects. Surely there are other camera manufacturers out there with this and other vulnerabilities, but when notified of a breach, we expect them to react swiftly.

I surely don't envy the work and due diligence necessary on the manufacturing side, but maybe we pay a few bucks more per camera to ensure we are dealing with viable manufacturers that protect us and themselves.

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