Pelco Fixes Hard Coded Credential Vulnerability

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Jul 19, 2016

One dirty secret in the industry is that many devices have unpublished manufacturer admin accounts. While useful to support techs, these accounts can pose huge security risks, and open systems up to abuse.

Pelco recently disclosed that their Digital Sentry product line had a hard-coded secret admin account, which they removed in their latest firmware.

We received information from Pelco about this vulnerability, what other platforms are affected, and provide details in this report.

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Comments (9)

I am torn between having the Hik/Dahua methods of using an algorithm to unlock a device and forcing users to factory restore a device if the credentials are lost.

It has come in handy to have a "password of the day" to service customer's devices that I didn't have credentials for, but the flip side is that anyone else with the same info could potentially do the same.

At least with a factory default, you would certainly know someone had access to your device when your current credentials no longer work.

I agree with your perspective on this. It's nice to be able to reset a device without having to climb a ladder (or get a bucket truck), but there are inherent weaknesses in that approach.

Personally, I like a method that requires direct physical access to the device (a reset button, but not something you need to disassemble the device to get at).

IMO, the reset should wipe ALL data, not just user accounts, or static IPs. That way, if someone gets access to the unit, but cannot get into it, they are forced to wipe out all identifying information from the unit (this would including wiping an SD-card if so equipped).

Technically though what we are talking about here is something separate from the tech support back-door that Pelco had in place. You, as the integrator or customer, are made aware of admin accounts and the standard method(s) of reset/compromise. But in this case there was an admin-level account that was not disclosed to users, and was consistent across all devices. In this scenario, once you knew the details of the account you could access any unit you had network connectivity to.

Just to clarify, the Dahua admin "password of the day" requires local access to the device. It will not work through any app or webpage.

Same for the 888888 and 666666 accounts. Local access only. Just in case anyone was concerned about those.

666666 account can be used for remote viewing, but it's not an admin account anyways.

I have been working with Dahua products for more than 5 years, and have yet to come across a system that allows for remote access using either 888888 or 666666. As far as I know, those have always been local only accounts.

Either way, if you have a Dahua device that is having this issue, my primary concern is to get the issue resolved. Please PM me the model of the device, and I can get you a firmware update that will address this.

I just checked a few locations and some of the early units (2012-2013 era) still work with the 666666 accounts remotely (via PSS and iDMSS). I also checked a more recent install, an HDCVI DVR, and that one did not work remotely.

I guess the reason we never knew of the change is that we now delete the built in 888888 and 666666 accounts upon initial install, for security purposes. That was not possible with the older units. They could not be removed, so we just made as obscure of a password as the units allowed.

Also, there isn't a PM feature here (ahem, John), so you will have to ask John to send me your info. If you are a Dahua employee, I have another, much more important issue at hand.

(ahem, Jon)

Lol, I've honestly never paid attention to that feature. My B.

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