Wireless Video Surveillance Hijacking Threat

By: John Honovich, Published on Mar 25, 2011

An Australian investigative report is highlighting the risk that video surveillance systems face from wireless hijacking. In this note, we examine the technical approach and consider the practical risks to production video surveillance systems.

The Australian report demonstrates how they can easily hack into video surveillance systems with a simple, low cost, readily available device. Here is a 3 minute video demonstration:

What they are doing is very straightforward and easy to understand. Some video surveillance systems use integrated basic wireless connections. These are generally very inexpensive and used by homeowners and small businesses who want just the basics. Google Products list thousands of wireless video surveillance kits ranging from $30 to $300 USD. These kits generally do not offer encryption nor significant constraints in accessing the video. If you walk down a busy street, sooner or later you are likely to find one (the video implies that this happens all over the place but this may be aggressive editing on the producer's part).

On the other hand, these kits are statistically uncommon in video surveillance overall and in professional wireless deployments. Obviously, the overwhelmingly majority of surveillance is wireline and therefore immune to this hack. Even among wireless systems, professional versions generally have encryption or use IP transmission, preventing these cheap wireless appliances from intercepting the video feed.

While hijacking surveillance or 'videojacking' is becoming a common topic of popular discussion, the cases consistently misunderstand the practical use and issues in production surveillance systems. Compare to our coverage of the Defcon surveillance hijacking and a consultant's call for aggressive encryption to stop videojacking.

Comments : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

VSaaS 101 on Mar 25, 2020
Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) is the common industry term for cloud video. But what does it mean? How does it all work? Inside this...
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...
The HIVIDEO $31 Face Detection DVR Tested on Apr 25, 2019
Face detection in a $31 DVR? That is what "HIVIDEO" (not to be confused with Hikvision, even if the company intends to do that) was promoting at...
HTTPS / SSL Video Surveillance Usage Statistics on Apr 01, 2019
HTTPS / SSL / TLS usage has become commonplace for websites to improve security and, in particular, to help mitigate attackers reading or modifying...
Avigilon Launches 'Renewed Products Program' on Mar 19, 2019
There are lots of 'pre-owned' cars but pre-owned IP cameras? While such programs are common in other industries, in video surveillance, they are...
China Hacks Video Servers Causing Uproar on Oct 05, 2018
An incident causing an international uproar is hitting home in the video surveillance industry as a Bloomberg report, "The Big Hack: How China...
IPVM Vulnerability Scanner Released / Deprecated on Jun 18, 2018
IPVM is proud to announce video surveillance's first and only cybersecurity vulnerability scanner. This tool allows quickly and simply...
Amazon Acquires Blink on Dec 22, 2017
Amazon has made their first significant acquisition in the connected home space, buying wire-free camera manufacturer Blink. We examine Amazon's...
Remote Video Monitoring Providers Directory on May 21, 2017
Remote video monitoring can help integrators generate RMR plus end users lower their security costs and/or improve response to critical...
Hack Your Access Control With This $30 HID 125kHz Card Copier on May 01, 2017
You might have heard the stories or seen the YouTube videos of random people hacking electronic access control systems. The tools that claim to do...

Most Recent Industry Reports

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...
Hanwha Face Mask Detection Tested on Jul 01, 2020
Face mask detection or, more specifically lack-of-face-mask detection, is an expanding offering in the midst of coronavirus. Hanwha in partnership...
UK Government Says Fever Cameras "Unsuitable" on Jul 01, 2020
The UK government's medical device regulator, MHRA, told IPVM that fever-seeking thermal cameras are "unsuitable for this purpose" and recommends...
Camera Course Summer 2020 on Jun 30, 2020
This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based on in-depth product and technology testing. Lots of manufacturer training...
Worst Over But Integrators Still Dealing With Coronavirus Problems (June Statistics) on Jun 30, 2020
While numbers of integrators very impacted by Coronavirus continue to drop, most are still moderately dealing with the pandemic's problems, June...