Washington DC MPD's Surveillance Equipment

By: Brian Karas, Published on Feb 21, 2017

The Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department's surveillance system was hacked in January 2017.

Two immediate questions were:

  • Whose equipment was it?
  • How did it happen?

We have been able to answer the first of those two questions through obtaining government records, which we examine inside.

*** ********** ** ************ Police **********'* ************ ****** was****** ** ******* ****.

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

  • ***** ********* *** **?
  • *** *** ** ******?

** **** **** **** to ****** *** ***** of ***** *** ********* through ********* ********** *******, which ** ******* ******.

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

Executive *******

*** ********* **** **** Avrio ******** ********** ** ****, Cradlepoint *** *******.

Source *********

*** ********* (**) ******* *** ******** purchased ** *** *** to ******* * ******** CCTV ****** ** ****: (1)**** ******** *********** (*)**** *** ************. *** ***** ********, which ******** *** ******** price ********* *** ******** of ** "******* **** Camera ******** ******* ******* Surveillance ******" (*****) *** the ******, ****** *** component *********.

***** **********

*** ******* *** * product ** ***** *** Group. ***** *** ** IP ***** *** ******* in ******, **. ***** the ********** ** ***** cameras, Avrio *** ***** ******** by *******.

***** *******

*****'* ******* *** ******** at ************** **** ****** to ****** ****** ******* and ********* **** ***** areas. *******'* ***** ** configured **** ********* ******** to **** ******** ************, at *** **** ***** listed ****, ********,  *******, OnSSI, *** **** ** some ** ***** ********.

MPD ******* *************

******* *********** *** ******** ********* *** ******** ********* being **** ** *** Polecams deployed ** *** ***. The ******* ********** ********:

*** *********** ****** ********* that ***** ******* **** using ******** ************** *** video ******. *******, *** it *** ********** *** how * ****** *** able ** ****** *** equipment ** *******.

Ransomware ******

** * ********** **** ******* ** the ****, *** ***'* *** said **** ********** *** found ** *** ********* (presumably ******* **-** *****). ********** ******** data ****** ** * machine ***** *** **** pays *** **** ** receive * ********** *** to ******* *** **** to ** *********** ******. It ** *** *** known *** ****** ** the **-**'* *** *********** to ***** ******* ** install *** **********.

Ongoing *************

** *** ********** ** investigate *** ******* ** the ****, ********* ************* with *** ************* ********, and **** ******* * separate ****** **** **** information ******* *********, ****** from **** ** **** other *******. ****** **** direct *********, ****** ******* us ** ****@****.*** ************* ***** **.

Comments (14)

Can Hitachi shed more light on this as Avrio is part of them?

Thank you for the story and we look forward to the final report.

It will be interesting to see how far or how deep the published results will be concerning GENETEC, AXIS or CRADLE POINT. Amazing that this apparent 'hack' has even made it to the news without blaming Chinese camera manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So it was a Windows machine after all!

That makes sense because that's the platform that ransomware overwhelmingly targets.

One scenario would be that a user PC was infected first thru an ill-advised download.  Once a client PC was infected, state of the art ransomware has the capability to infect other PCs on the LAN based on credentials found out the infected PC.  

 

IPVM must have been so disappointed it wasn't Hikvision.

Disappointed, I'd think, is the wrong word.  Maybe a little surprised, but I personally would be even more surprised if I found out that Wash. DC surveillance was actually using a Chinese product like HIK.

Most would probably agree that Axis and Genetec are pretty strong when it comes to their focus and efforts toward cyber security, so all this information does is strengthen and enforce the reality that even the best products are vulnerable without outside help, and that installers / integrators today have as much responsibility as ever to ensure that the network side of the house is no longer a separate conversation.  Physical and cyber security systems will never be secure when they are treated separately.

I doubt that, remember this is a genetec system. Unlikely they were attached to Genetec ;)

So the hack occurred outside MPD's firewall? And also was it done wirelessly? Questions to ask, before sounding the alarm. 

Sounds like they went in through the cell 4G modem to access the sv16...i am assuming each pole site has an SV16 connected to the 4G router to connect back to main genetec system, and a small switch connected to the cameras on a local network.

We have a similar setup since we have a bunch of scattered buildings that connect back to main system over the internet, sv16 and axis cameras. However we do have a cisco firewall appliance at each location to protect our SV16s, so that those are only reachable from within our own network. Without that, it would just be a windows machine exposed to everything.

Has there been any information released about how this first came to light, or how the infection started (was it a hack of the wireless system, through a camera, through the NVR's, or done with a physical attack on the hardware itself)?

Were any other DC systems compromised as a result of this or was it contained to just the edge based appliances?

I keep hoping that someone will have these details, but I'm guessing that we will never know...

I keep hoping that someone will have these details

More details are going to come. It's just early.

This is not like Mirai where hundreds of thousands of devices were hit around the globe and therefore it was easy to figure out what was happening.

Has there been a mention of who was behind it? I know it ended in ransomware (I am assuming the city did not pay, or at least will publicly say they didnt pay; getting someone out to just wipe and re-install all of those machines seems do-able at this scale I suppose) but it would be interesting if they were able to pinpoint what group or individual was behind it

Has there been a mention of who was behind it?

On Feb 4th, there was an announcement that 2 were arrested in London. I have not seen any new news reports since on those arrests.

I think...and this may be a wild guess, this is a Windows vulnerability. Especially with the ransomware element and the fact that the Genetec appliance is Windows (and from 2013 probably 7 Pro [8 if they were stupid]) based...and knowing the overall mindset, they probably disabled updates so it was vulnerable.

In fact, chances are, most of the rest of the equipment probably isn't compromised. Just the NVR.

Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 6,371 reports, 856 tests and is only available to members. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a member? Login here | Join now

Related Reports

Vivotek Trend Micro Cyber Security Camera App Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Vivotek and Trend Micro are claiming five million blocked attacks on IP cameras, with their jointly developed app for Vivotek cameras. This new...
Washington DC Surveillance Hackers Arrested on Dec 29, 2017
The US Department of Justice has announced that "Two Romanian Suspects Charged With Hacking of Metropolitan Police Department Surveillance Cameras...
Avigilon ACC7 VMS Tested on Jul 22, 2019
Avigilon's Control Center 7 boldly claims it will "transform live video monitoring" with the new Focus of Attention "AI-enabled" interface. We...
Alarm.com Tested on Jul 13, 2017
Alarm.com has become the dominant force in smart home / remote service platform, with ~70% market share, combining their own traditional offering...
TVT Backdoor Disclosed on Apr 09, 2018
Security researcher Bashis has disclosed a backdoor in TVT video surveillance products, with TVT issuing its own 'Notification of Critical...
Assa Aperio Wireless Access Reader R100 Tested on Aug 23, 2018
Wireless access control is frequently promoted by manufacturers as a way to cut installation costs. Perhaps the biggest proponent of this is mega...
Milestone / Canon Spinout Arcules Cloud Launch on Jul 30, 2018
Canon and Milestone's VSaaS Startup spinoff Arcules launched their platform at Google Cloud Next. IPVM spoke with CEO Andreas Pettersson [link no...
2018 Video Surveillance Cameras Overview on Dec 11, 2017
This report concisely explains the developments for surveillance cameras offered in 2017 and the state of offerings going into 2018, including...
Hikvision Backdoor Confirmed 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...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Startup Duranc Presents AI VSaaS on Jul 06, 2020
Duranc presented its system at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. A 30-minute video from Duranc including IPVM Q&A Background on the...
Low Voltage Nation Wants to "Help You Carve Out A Fulfilling Career" Interviewed on Jul 06, 2020
It is difficult to make your way in this industry as there is little formal schooling. However, one person, Blake Urmos, the Founder of Low Voltage...
The Next Hot Fever Detection Trend - $100 Wall-Mounted Units on Jul 06, 2020
The first wave of the booming fever detecting market was $10,000+ cameras, now interest for ~$2,000 tablets is high and the next big thing may be...
Cisco Meraki Unlocks IP Cameras With RTSP Tested on Jul 06, 2020
Meraki opened up its cameras to 3rd party NVRs/VMSes by offering RTSP streaming because of "the need to solve a business problem". We tested...
Verkada: "IPVM Should Never Be Your Source of News" on Jul 02, 2020
Verkada was unhappy with IPVM's recent coverage declaring that reading IPVM is 'not a good look' and that 'IPVM should never be your source of...
Vintra Presents FulcrumAI Face Recognition on Jul 02, 2020
Vintra presented its FulcrumAI face recognition and mask detection offering at the May 2020 IPVM Startups show. Inside this report: A...
Uniview Wrist Temperature Reader Tested on Jul 02, 2020
Uniview is promoting measuring wrist temperatures whereas most others are just offering forehead or inner canthus measurements. But how well does...
Dahua USA Admits Thermal Solutions "Qualify As Medical Devices" on Jul 02, 2020
Dahua USA has issued a press release admitting a controversial point in the industry but an obvious one to the US FDA, that the thermal temperature...
Access Control Online Show - July 2020 - With 40+ Manufacturers - Register Now on Jul 01, 2020
IPVM is excited to announce our July 2020 Access Control Show. With 40+ companies presenting across 4 days, this is a unique opportunity to hear...