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article imageMany security cameras vulnerable to hacking

By Tim Sandle     Oct 18, 2017 in Technology
Businesses and other services dependent upon security solutions have been urged to upgrade their security cameras due to risks that such cameras can be hacked. A big risk arises from malware which leads to leakage of sensitive information.
The extent of the concern has been highlighted by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. In a study the researchers have shown how security cameras, infected with malware, can be sent covert signals which trigger them to leak sensitive information.
The risks from hacking exist equally for businesses and home security solutions. Moreover, the risks extend beyond cameras to other control and access systems like LED doorbells. The method for bypassing security systems has been dubbed "aIR-Jumper". This is because hackers can create bidirectional, covert, optical communication between air-gapped internal networks. These are computers disconnected from the Internet that do not allow for remote access.
The weaknesses were identified by a team led by Dr. Mordechai Guri, as Phys.Org reports. The researcher has shown how infra-red can be deployed to develop a covert communication channel between malware installed on an internal computer network and a hacker located in close proximity to the site. The infra-red channel can be exploited to send commands and to receive response messages.
For data transmission, a hacker can use the infra-red function of the camera (which normally kicks in to allow night vision) the hacker can then record and decode signals in order to to leak sensitive information.
The risks are shown in two videos. With video one, a hacker is shown a few hundreds of yards away sending infrared signals to a camera:
With the second video, a camera that is infected with malware is shown reacting to covert signals by exfiltration data:
Commenting on this Dr. Guri said in a research note: "Security cameras are unique in that they have 'one leg' inside the organization, connected to the internal networks for security purposes, and 'the other leg' outside the organization, aimed specifically at a nearby public space, providing very convenient optical access from various directions and angles."
The research has been documented as a working paper. The paper is titled “aIR-Jumper: Covert Air-Gap Exfiltration/Infiltration via Security Cameras & Infrared (IR).”
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