Video Surveillance Manufacturers Risk Lawsuits For Botnet Attacks

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 24, 2016

The unprecedented scale of internet outages on October 21st from botnet attacks risk triggering lawsuits against video surveillance manufacturers, an event that might spur greater responsibility within the industry.

Large Loss For Companies Impacted

The October 21st attacks hit major Internet sites including brand names like Amazon, PayPal, the NY Times, Netflix, Ebay, etc. These companies generate significant revenue from their websites. Given their size, an outage even for part of a day could have cost them collectively tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

More Severe Costs Than Typical Consumer Attacks

This is different from individual consumers who have had their cameras or recorders hacked. In those cases, typically the damage, in direct dollar terms, are minimal or hard to determine, e.g. IP camera trolling. Because of that, lawsuits are uncommon.

Seeking Damages From Those Responsible

With these large companies, many of who are publicly traded, and some having multi-billion dollar valuations, they have both the legal infrastructure and sufficient scale of damages to pursue legal action.

Damages From Hackers Unlikely

Those who ran these hacks / botnet attacks have not been identified. But even if or when they are, it may be hard to win damages since if it is individual hackers, their resources may be minimal and if it is a government, the ability to win damages would be quite hard.

Damages From Video Surveillance Manufacturers

While the video surveillance manufacturers named by the media, including Dahua and Xiongmai, certainly did not conduct the attacks themselves, their equipment was used in the attacks and they could be targeted. The issue, then becomes, whether or not they have liability / sufficient negligence to be found at fault.

We are not lawyers so we cannot tell what the outcome would be or what is right here. However, we do see a real risk of lawsuits being filed given the significant damages suffered and the role of video surveillance devices to conduct these attacks.

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