Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

7/30/2019
02:15 PM
50%
50%

Insecure Real-Time Video Protocols Allow Hollywood-Style Hacking

Lack of security in the default settings of Internet-enabled video cameras make co-opting video feeds not just a movie-hacker technique, but a reality for millions of cameras.

More than 4.6 million video cameras may be open to an attack that could co-opt the video feeds of network-connected video cameras if the owners relied on the device's default settings, according to research by Internet of Things (IoT) security firm Forescout Technologies. 

In a report published on July 30, the company's researchers found that an attacker who already has some level of access to a smart building's or corporation's network could completely replace the video feeds from many types and configurations of IP video cameras because they rarely use encryption or authentication. A simple attack to reroute the video and restart the device can easily replace a video stream with attacker-provided data, the company states

"Our main point is not to demonstrate that you take over a system, but that you can conduct a cyber-physical attack — you are disrupting functions in the physical world using cyber means," says Elisa Costante, senior director of research for Forescout. "If you encrypt the protocols, none of this would be possible."

Hackers co-opting video feeds to stymie corporate defenses is a staple of Hollywood movies. Unlike many attack techniques, which Hollywood studios often treat as some sort of techno-wizardry, hacking IP video cameras is often straightforward because most devices continue to be poorly secured.

Forescout's attack, for example, relies on an common technique known as ARP poisoning, where the attacker misdirects network traffic by sending an address resolution protocol (ARP) packet to link an IP address with an attacker-controlled system. The effectiveness of the attack highlights how manufacturers continue to fail to secure the network-connected devices — such as IP cameras — to prevent the easiest attacks.

While some manufacturers have secured their devices, tens of millions of IP-connected video cameras have been installed by businesses and consumers, many without thought to security, Forescout says.

Secure versions of the real-time streaming protocol (RTSP) exist but are often not implemented, the company's report states.

"Unfortunately, these secure alternatives are not always available in IoT devices, are almost never configured by default, and are many times not enabled by the end users, who generally do not have all the knowledge required to secure RTP sessions in the first place," the company says.

A scan for the unsecured RTSP port uncovered more than 4.6 million devices that exposed the real-time streaming protocol to the Internet, suggesting that those devices are likely to be misconfigured and have unencrypted streams. Such devices often pose a higher security risk because they are rarely managed in the same ways as computer systems, with little on-board security and very infrequent patching.

The worries come the same week that security firm Armis revealed that more than a dozen flaws exist in a variety of versions of the real-time operating system (RTOS) created by VxWorks, a provider of embedded software. The vulnerabilities could leave as many as 200 million devices vulnerable to attack, many of which are unlikely to be patched.

In Forescout's report on its research, the company includes a video demonstrating how an attacker could sabotage an IP video stream to make security guards, for example, not see an intruder. Current security solutions are unlikely to be able to detect such attacks, the company says.

"The security challenges presented by these devices are forcing organizations to rethink their cybersecurity strategies," the company states in the report. "Legacy security solutions are not enough to secure today’s networks because either they are unsupported by embedded devices or they are incapable of understanding the network traffic generated by these devices."

Instead, companies need to focus on easily managed devices and configure them to use encryption, the report stated.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

 

 

 

 

Veteran technology journalist of more than 20 years. Former research engineer. Written for more than two dozen publications, including CNET News.com, Dark Reading, MIT's Technology Review, Popular Science, and Wired News. Five awards for journalism, including Best Deadline ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
AI Is Everywhere, but Don't Ignore the Basics
Howie Xu, Vice President of AI and Machine Learning at Zscaler,  9/10/2019
Fed Kaspersky Ban Made Permanent by New Rules
Dark Reading Staff 9/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-4147
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-16
IBM Sterling File Gateway 2.2.0.0 through 6.0.1.0 is vulnerable to SQL injection. A remote attacker could send specially-crafted SQL statements, which could allow the attacker to view, add, modify or delete information in the back-end database. IBM X-Force ID: 158413.
CVE-2019-5481
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-16
Double-free vulnerability in the FTP-kerberos code in cURL 7.52.0 to 7.65.3.
CVE-2019-5482
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-16
Heap buffer overflow in the TFTP protocol handler in cURL 7.19.4 to 7.65.3.
CVE-2019-15741
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-16
An issue was discovered in GitLab Omnibus 7.4 through 12.2.1. An unsafe interaction with logrotate could result in a privilege escalation
CVE-2019-16370
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-16
The PGP signing plugin in Gradle before 6.0 relies on the SHA-1 algorithm, which might allow an attacker to replace an artifact with a different one that has the same SHA-1 message digest, a related issue to CVE-2005-4900.