“Five million in five months”: VIVOTEK confronts epidemic of cyber-attacks on IP cameras

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Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
August 15, 2019


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Trend Micro said it blocked five million attempted cyber-attacks on IP cameras in just five months, according to Shengfu Cheng of IP video surveillance brand VIVOTEK.

IFSEC Global spoke to VIVOTEK’s director of marketing for its product development division about a new 180-degree product line, deep learning-driven analytics and building trust through better cybersecurity.

Founded in Taiwan in 2000 VIVOTEK is a global leader in network cameras, PoE switches, network video recorders and video management software.

IFSEC Global: Hi, Shengfu. What’s the big news with VIVOTEK in 2019?

Shengfu Cheng: There are three highlights this year. The first one is the 180-degree product line. We’re the only manufacturer to provide this kind of product line. We have three models for different IR distances and they come with multiple sensors and IR-cut filter for day and night operation.

The second big focus is cybersecurity. We are the first brand in the market to deliver a network camera embedded with Trend Micro’s anti-intrusion software in 2018 – a Japanese company, which is a global leader in cybersecurity solution. This year, our VMS, VAST 2, can even detect a cyber-attack and notify you.

After an event trigger for the cyber-attack, it can do the analytics, and produce a report in the back-end system. So it’s a total solution.

“75% of all blocked cyber-attacks were brute-force login attempts”

There’s a live demo you can run on a laptop that shows a cyber-attack trying to attack the camera. When the camera is under attack the siren will go off. It generates a report, which you can export to your IT department, who can evaluate the risks to your systems.

The real thing we’re trying to deliver to the market is trust. Everyone is talking about trust. This is how we convince the customer to trust us.

And the third one is deep learning. Everyone is talking about deep learning. First of all, we developed everything within the camera – so called edge computing. You don’t need a PC or cloud-based system – everything is on the camera.

IG: Please tell us more about your deep learning-driven analytics…

SC: Our flagship fisheye camera can track every individual moving around under it – this feature is built in to the camera. You don’t need to pay additional fees for these analytics.  You just need to upgrade the firmware. You can do crowd detection, which can detect approximately how many people occupy a given region.

The other one is loitering detection. You can set up a rule by drawing a region and saying that, if there are two people staying within this zone, it will trigger. Or if there’s one person loitering within this region for more than 30 seconds, or five minutes, it will trigger. It’s straightforward to do this.

We focused the analytics on people detection and tracking. Because traditional applications focused on motion detection, but there are lots of false alarms because those motions were not caused by human behaviour.

What other strengths do you have in relation to your competitors?

SC: Every manufacturer has multi-sensor cameras, but VIVOTEK has the most compact model on the market right now. And it’s a very good 30 frames per second, 20-megapixel. Each sensor is five-megapixel.  And we can compete on the bottom line for a vertical market like transportation.

Our strengths are cybersecurity and analytics. But I would highlight cybersecurity above all, because trust is a very important thing we are trying to deliver to the market right now.

IG: Cybersecurity does seem to be a dominant topic in the industry now – five years ago it was rarely mentioned…

SC: Recently, Trend Micro announced it had blocked five million attempted cyber-attacks against IP cameras in just five months. By analysing data from 7,000 anonymously aggregated IP cameras, Trend Micro found that the IP-based surveillance industry is fighting massive cyber-attacks, but few countermeasures have been taken by the majority.

From Trend Micro’s analysis, 75% of all blocked cyber-attack incidents were brute-force login attempts. Compromised passwords can immediately lead to a breach of content, and opens the door for further system exploitation.

Based on this aggregated security data, there is a clear pattern that malicious attackers are targeting IP surveillance devices with common malware, such as Mirai variants, as well as known system vulnerabilities.

While the industry has known about cyber risks, manufacturers have been unable to properly address the risk without knowing the root cause and attack methods. VIVOTEK has invested extensive resources into developing a holistic solution for cybersecurity management, allowing users to quickly respond to threats when encountered and minimise the related cyber risks.

We will continue working with Trend Micro to provide reliable solutions to customers worldwide.

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