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DSLR Cameras More Vulnerable to Malware Attacks, Suggest Researchers

To avoid attacks, camera owners should make sure your camera is using the latest firmware version, and install a patch if available, Check Point recommended

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DSLR cameras vulnerable to malware attacks: Researchers. Pixabay

It is not just your phone or computer that are vulnerable to hacking. Security researchers have now warned that even DSLR cameras are not immune to ransomware and malware attacks.

Through the USB and connections to Wi-Fi networks, threat actors can take control of data on modern cameras, found the researchers from cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies.

“Any ‘smart’ device, including the DSLR camera, is susceptible to attacks,” said Eyal Itkin, Security Researcher, Check Point Software Technologies.

“Cameras are no longer just connected to the USB, but to the WiFi network and its surrounding environment. This makes them more vulnerable to threats as attackers can inject ransomware into both the camera and PC it is connected to,” Itkin added.

Once the camera is attacked, the photos could end up being held hostage until the user pays the ransom for them to be released.

Since modern cameras no longer use film to capture and reproduce images, the International Imaging Industry Association devised a standardised protocol known as Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer digital images from camera to PC.

fujifilm
The camera offers fast and silent continuous shooting of up to 30 fps in a cropped frame equivalent to 16.6MP. (Representational image). Wikimedia Commons

Initially focused on image transfer, this protocol has evolved to include dozens of different commands that support anything from taking a live picture to upgrading the camera’s firmware.

Check Point Research, the threat intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies, aimed to access the cameras and exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect the camera.

For the research, Check Point used Canon’s EOS 80D DSLR camera which supports both USB and Wi-Fi, and critical vulnerabilities in the Picture Transfer Protocol were found.

Check Point Research informed Canon about the vulnerabilities and the companies worked together to patch them. Canon published the patch as part of an official security advisory.

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Given that the protocol is standardised and embedded in other camera brands, the researchers believe similar vulnerabilities can be found in cameras from other vendors as well.

To avoid attacks, camera owners should make sure your camera is using the latest firmware version, and install a patch if available, Check Point recommended.

They should also turn off the camera’s Wi-Fi when not in use. (IANS)

Next Story

Technological Advances to Throw Up New Challenges for Cyber Security

The Internet was not designed for security, hence it is inherently insecure since everything is hackable

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Technological advances like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Automatic Cards and others will throw up new challenges for cyber security and all countries must unite to foresee and combat them, a leading Israeli cyber security expert said on Monday.

“The Internet was not designed for security, hence it is inherently insecure since everything is hackable. It is more difficult to be a cyber security personnel than a hacker. The hacker has to succeed only once, where the the cyber security personnel has to succeed always to remain safe, within many rules and regulations,” Menny Barzilay, the CEO, Cyber Research Centre of Tel Aviv University and CEO of Cytactic, said.

He pointed out how “smart people” from different countries are joining hands to commit cyber crimes and hence there is “a need for super-smart people” from around the world to join as cyber security experts.

“Cyber threats don’t create a sense of urgency, unlike a bomb threat, and we cannot feel it in our senses. It is therefore more difficult to convince people that the ‘cyber’ threat is real,” said Barzilay, addressing a panel discussion on cyber security at Nehru Science Centre (NSC) via videoconference.

Technological Advances, Cyber Security, Challenges
Technological advances like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Automatic Cards and others will throw up new challenges for cyber security and all countries must unite to foresee. Pixabay

The discussion was also attended by Israeli Consul-General in Mumbai, Yaakov Finkelstein, security experts from the Mumbai Police and students.

Recalling an incident of cyber attack on Sony Corporation after the release of its film, “The Interview”, Barzilay said that corporates are not prepared to face cyber crimes and the government must support them during such cyber hits.

“Billions of devices, part of Internet of Things implies they are prone to hacking, a smart device means being vulnerable, it will also affect our privacy. Big companies have lot of data about users and can manipulate them for private gains, something which allegedly happened in the US elections,” he said.

Finkelstein said that “there’s a war going on all around us, a cyber war, which is about our wellbeing, privacy and safety of our bank accounts”.

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“Cyberspace is the new warzone, and we can’t afford to lose even once. We are all victims here, but each of us can choose to be a warrior as well with mobiles and tablets as our weapons. We must be ‘Chowkidars’ of the Internet,” he added.

Manoj Prabhakaran, the Vijay & Sita Vashee Chair Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, spoke about how combating cyber crime is impossible without changing the very nature of apps like WhatsApp, and the efforts to fight it must also address tensions between freedom of speech on one hand and user privacy and platform encryption on the other.

Other prominent personalities who spoke included social activist Sonali Patankar (on cyber bullying), Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell Sachin Pandkar on government efforts to tackle cyber crimes and cyber threats to children, Ritesh Bhatia on growing opportunities in the field of cyber security and NSC Director Shiprasad Khened. (IANS)