Home Technology Outdated firmware placing security cameras at risk of cyber attack

Outdated firmware placing security cameras at risk of cyber attack

by Brian Sims

Outdated camera firmware and the failure to change default passwords are two of the biggest weaknesses when it comes to organisations’ cyber security defences in the surveillance arena. As the number of interconnected security devices continues to grow, keeping pace with the latest updates can be both tricky and time-consuming. According to new research* conducted by Genetec, as many as 68.4% (or almost seven out of ten) of cameras are currently running out-of-date firmware.

Installing the latest firmware isn’t just about accessing exciting new features, urges the unified security and business intelligence specialist. It also ensures the latest cyber security protection measures are implemented as soon as they become available, which is a crucial step towards realising an organisation’s resilience against cyber attack.

“Our primary research data points to the fact that more than half of the cameras with out-of-date firmware (53.9%) contain known cyber security vulnerabilities,” said Mathieu Chevalier, lead security architect at Genetec. “By extrapolating this to an average security network, nearly four out of every ten surveillance cameras are vulnerable to a cyber attack.”

The research conducted by Genetec also shows that nearly one-in-four organisations (23%) fail to use unique passwords, relying instead on the same password across all cameras from the same manufacturer, leaving an easy point of entry for hackers as soon as only one camera has been compromised.

Until recently, IP cameras were supplied with default security settings, including admin login information that’s often publicly available on the manufacturers’ websites. While most camera manufacturers now request end users to set up a new password and admin credentials at installation, businesses and Government organisations with older equipment never updated their passwords, potentially compromising the other critical data and systems that reside on their network.

“Unfortunately, our research shows that the ‘set it and forget it’ mentality remains prevalent, putting an entire organisation’s security and people’s privacy at risk,” added Chevalier. “All it takes is one camera with obsolete firmware or a default password to create a foothold for an attacker to compromise the whole network. It’s therefore critical that today’s organisations should be as proactive in the update of their physical security systems as they are in updating their IT networks.”

*Research conducted on a sample of 44,763 cameras connected to systems that are part of the Genetec opt-in product improvement programme

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