Cybersecurity for IP Video Surveillance

Integrators and manufacturers share the responsibility of cybersecurity awareness and education.

In our increasingly connected world, cybersecurity is becoming a greater area of concern. Because nearly every aspect of our lives is affected by or dependent upon the internet, it is vital to do our best to protect ourselves and our assets from cyber threats. Though IP video surveillance is unfortunately not immune to cyber attack, there’s no need to forego the image quality and convenience of IP video due to concerns about security. Security dealers, installers, and end-users should understand their roles in cybersecurity in order to best protect their networked appliances.

Integrators and installers can begin by seeking out cybersecurity training from manufacturers. If a manufacturer doesn’t offer such training, ask them why: it’s important to know that cybersecurity is a priority to them. Outside of manufacturer training, seek out presentations at security industry events such as PSA-TEC, ISC West’s Connected Security Expo, and the education sessions at the ASIS trade show to learn from other cybersecurity experts. If attending a convention isn’t an option, there are a wealth of online resources including webinars and white papers. Leading North American video surveillance provider Hikvision USA offers links to resources such as these on their Security Center webpage.

After educating themselves, integrators and installers should build and design secure deployments to the best of their ability, as well as make cybersecurity education a part of the services they provide to customers. Often, manufacturers are happy to send their engineers or sales managers to a job site to provide face-to-face training sessions. Outside of training provided by the manufacturer, opening up a dialogue with security end-users about cybersecurity can go a long way. It’s important to emphasize to that no equipment is ever 100% secure. Cyber attacks can happen at any time, but there are steps that can be taken to mitigate that risk.  Sharing information about cybersecurity best practices with customers – such as selecting strong passwords and keeping firmware up-to-date – can go a long way. Other best practices are listed on Hikvision USA’s Security Center.

Additional support may come from the end-users themselves. Within any enterprise that is using video surveillance, there is likely to be an IT department that may or may not be directly involved in physical security. Regardless, they are likely to have a good understanding of cybersecurity as a whole and are good candidates to enlist in educating their employees and helping them implement a cybersecurity plan.

Don’t wait until a cyber attack happens before devising an action plan. If a video appliance is being compromised, or even if there is suspicion that it might be, it’s critical to notify end-users immediately. Because vulnerabilities may arise from product flaws, it’s a good idea to notify the manufacturer as well. Hikvision USA makes this easy with a link on their Security Center. The manufacturer can test the product and then build new firmware or otherwise work to resolve the issue, if it is indeed due to a product flaw.

There are other ways that manufacturers share the responsibility of cybersecurity. They can take into account known attack profiles in order to build more secure products. Continuous testing, both internally and via third-party penetration testing, is vital. Hikvision USA contracts security firms such as Rapid7 to test their products and report any vulnerabilities discovered.

Everyone is responsible for promoting safe, secure environments. Although roles may differ, responsibility does not. Working together, manufacturers, integrators, and end-users can help ensure that video surveillance systems are as secure as possible.

For more information, visit Hikvision’s USA Security Center.

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