TMCnet Feature
June 19, 2013

Security Expert Says Look Warily, Surveillance Cameras Can Be Hacked

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Surveillance cameras were among the key technologies that led to the quick identification of suspects in the recent Boston Marathon bombing case.

Even before that tragedy – after the Sept. 11 attacks, New York and other cities increased their use of surveillance cameras thanks to federal grants from the Department of Homeland Security, Bloomberg (News - Alert) News reported.

But how many people know that surveillance cameras can be hacked?

It’s no secret among security pros – but recent news about the potential hacking of security cameras has left some people unsettled.

In a recent interview, Craig Heffner, a former software developer with the National Security Administration who now works at the private security firm Tactical Network Solutions (News - Alert), said he knows ways to “remotely attack high-end surveillance cameras used by industrial plants, prisons, banks and the military, something that potentially would allow hackers to spy on facilities or gain access to sensitive computer networks,” Reuters (News - Alert) reported.

The cameras are made by such prominent firms as Cisco Systems, D-Link and TRENDnet.

"It's a significant threat," Heffner said in an interview covered by TMCnet. "Somebody could potentially access a camera and view it. Or they could also use it as a pivot point, an initial foothold, to get into the network and start attacking internal systems."

In fact, he claims that “hundreds of thousands” of surveillance cameras can be accessed through the Internet.

Cisco (News - Alert), D-Link and TRENDnet each told Reuters they would remedy any vulnerabilities in the cameras after Heffner speaks at a Black Hat conference later this summer.

“That there are – allegedly, at this point – vulnerabilities in the cameras will come as no surprise to security experts,” according to a report from InfoSecurity Magazine. “Any device with an IP address can be probed and potentially breached remotely.”

He is not alone in his concerns. Earlier this year, someLuser said there were “vulnerabilities” in some 20 security camera models. 

Edited by Alisen Downey
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