Many Hikvision Cameras Exposed to Attacks Due to Critical Vulnerability

More than 70 Hikvision camera and NVR models are affected by a critical vulnerability that can allow hackers to remotely take control of devices without any user interaction.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2021-36260, was discovered by a researcher who uses the online moniker “Watchful IP.” The researcher published a blog post over the weekend, but has not made public any technical details to prevent abuse.

The vulnerability can be exploited to gain root access and take full control of a device. An attacker could also use compromised devices to access internal networks.

“Given the deployment of these cameras at sensitive sites potentially even critical infrastructure is at risk,” the researcher warned.

“Only access to the http(s) server port (typically 80/443) is needed,” the researcher added. “No username or password needed nor any actions need to be initiated by the camera owner. It will not be detectable by any logging on the camera itself.”

Hikvision described it as a command injection vulnerability — caused by insufficient input validation — that can be exploited using specially crafted messages. The Chinese company noted that exploitation is possible if the attacker has network access to the device or if the device is exposed to the internet.

The issue impacts both older and newer Hikvision cameras and NVRs — a list of affected products has been made available.

The vulnerability was reported to the vendor in June and an advisory announcing the availability of firmware patches was published on September 19. The researcher said “patched firmware is partially available though inconsistently deployed across various Hikvision firmware portals.”

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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