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Genetec research shows cameras at risk of cyber attack due to outdated firmware


December 23, 2019
By SP&T Staff

MONTREAL — Outdated camera firmware, and failing to change default passwords present some of the biggest weaknesses in cybersecurity defense, according to research by Genetec.

The surveillance provider says as many as 68.4 per cent—or almost 7 out of 10—cameras are currently running out of date firmware.

Installing the latest firmware is not just about accessing exciting new features, warns Genetec. It ensures the latest cybersecurity protection measures are implemented as soon as they become available, a crucial step in ensuring an organization’s resilience against cyber-attacks.

“Our primary research data points to the fact that more than half of the cameras with out-of-date firmware (53.9 per cent) contain known cybersecurity vulnerabilities. By extrapolating this to an average security network, nearly 4 out of every 10 cameras are vulnerable to a cyber-attack,” said Mathieu Chevalier, lead security architect at Genetec, in a prepared statement.

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The research conducted by Genetec also showed that nearly 1 in 4 organizations (23 per cent) 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 once only one camera has been compromised.

Until recently, IP cameras came with default security settings, including admin login information that is often publicly available on the manufacturers’ websites. While most camera manufacturers now request users to set up a new password and admin credentials at installation, businesses, cities and government organizations 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 organization’s security and people’s privacy at risk. 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,” added Chevalier. “It is critical that organizations should be as proactive in the update of their physical security systems as they are in updating their IT networks.”