Wireless Video Surveillance Hijacking Threat

Author: 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 : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports on Wireless

VMS Export Shootout - Avigilon, Dahua, Exacq, Genetec, Hikvision, Milestone on Sep 13, 2018
When crimes, accidents or problems occur, exporting video from one's video surveillance system is critical to proving incidents. But who does it...
Ligowave Wireless Profile - Ubiquiti Competitor on Aug 27, 2018
Ubiquiti has become the most common choice for wireless in video surveillance (see Favorite Wireless Manufacturers) but not without controversy and...
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...
Backboxes for Video Surveillance Tutorial on Aug 15, 2018
Backboxes are a necessity in surveillance, whether for managing cable whips, recessing cameras, adding wireless radios. But it can be confusing to...
Directory of Video Surveillance Startups on Jul 18, 2018
This directory provides a list of video surveillance startups to help you see and research what companies are new or not yet broadly known entity...
Amazon Ring Alarm System Tested on Jul 16, 2018
Amazon Ring is going to hurt traditional dealers, and especially ADT, new IPVM test results of Ring's Alarm system underscore. IPVM found that...
July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jul 12, 2018
Registration is closed. This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals.  Lots of network training...
S2 Access Control / 'Unified Security Management' Profile on May 08, 2018
In our 13th access control company profile, we examine S2 Security's Netbox platform: Unified Security Management Platform positioning Core...
IP Network Hardware for Surveillance Guide on May 02, 2018
Video surveillance systems depend on IP networking equipment. In this guide, we explain the key pieces of equipment and features, explaining where...
Favorite Access Control Manufacturers 2018 on Apr 26, 2018
150+ Integrators told IPVM "What is your favorite access control management software/system? Why? Unlike the 2016 access favorites where a group...

Most Recent Industry Reports

25% China Tariffs Finalized For 2019, 10% Start Now, Includes Select Video Surveillance on Sep 18, 2018
A surprise move: In July, when the most recent tariff round was first announced, the tariffs were only scheduled for 10%. However, now, the US...
Central Stations Face Off Against NFPA On Fire Monitoring on Sep 18, 2018
Central stations are facing off against the NFPA over what they call anti-competitive language in NFPA 72, the standard that covers fire alarms....
Hikvision USA Starts Layoffs on Sep 18, 2018
Hikvision USA has started layoffs, just weeks after the US government ban was passed into law. Inside this note, we examine: The important...
Chinese Government Praises Hikvision Following Xi Jinping on Sep 17, 2018
The Chinese government council responsible for managing China's state-owned companies praised Hikvision’s obedience to China’s authoritarian leader...
Amazon Ring Spotlight Cam Tested on Sep 17, 2018
Amazon's Ring has released their latest camera entry, the Spotlight Cam, which we bought and tested in our Consumer IP Camera Analytics...
European Mega Security Firm Verisure Pushing Security Fog on Sep 17, 2018
The European mega security firm Verisure (Securitas Direct), with a reported 2 million customers, is pushing security fog, as shown in this BBC...
IP Camera Cable Labeling Guide on Sep 14, 2018
Labeling cables can save a lot of money and headaches. While it is easy to overlook, taking time to label runs during installation significantly...
Favorite Intercom Manufacturers 2018 on Sep 14, 2018
Intercoms are certainly increasing in popularity, driven by the integration of video and IP networking. But who is the favorite? On the one side,...
Vivotek 4MP Camera Tested (FD8379-HV) on Sep 13, 2018
Next in our series of updated 4MP testing, we bought and tested Vivotek's FD8379-HV, and entry level 4MP model claiming "top-notch quality video in...
Ascent / MONI Faces Lender Lawsuit and Debt Crisis on Sep 13, 2018
ASCMA, aka Ascent, aka Brinks Home Security, aka MONI, aka Monitronics is being sued by a group of their lenders who allege: As of June 30,...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact