Email Phishing Examples from Hikvision’s Director of Cybersecurity: Part II

August 23, 2018

Steps to Avoid Malware Attacks From Email Phishing, Top 7 Tips From US-CERT

Steps to Avoid Malware Attacks From Email Phishing, Top 7 Tips From US-CERT


Hikvision’s director of cybersecurity, Chuck Davis, together with the Hikvision Security Lab at Hikvision headquarters, is leading the cybersecurity program for Hikvision North America, overseeing all internal and external cybersecurity initiatives and programs in the region. In part two of a blog about phishing, Davis provides examples of phishing attack methods, as well as tips to identify phishing emails and prevent becoming a victim of attacks.

Phishing has long been an effective way for attackers to trick people into divulging sensitive information or infecting a system with malware. Malware can give an attacker remote access to protected systems and networks, encrypt a user’s data and charge a ransom to decrypt the data, or use that system as part of an attack against other systems. A critical part of malware defense is identifying a phishing attack.

Example of Masking a URL
In our previous blog, we looked at a URL in a real phishing email that was not masked in any way. We mentioned that this is very easy to do. In this post, we further examine the email and show methods regularly used by attackers, to trick even the most clever and cybersecurity-aware email consumers. Below is an example of how easy it can be to mask a URL. If you hover over the link below, you'll notice that it does not link to, but rather, to

Clickjacking: Advanced URL Masking
Hovering over a URL is a popular and somewhat effective way to scrutinize a URL but it’s not 100 percent effective. A more advanced phishing attack will use methods like clickjacking. Clickjacking shows that the URL is pointing to one destination address, but takes the user to another address.

In this example, notice when you hover over the URL it shows the destination address as Google's homepage. However, if you click on the link, you will see that it actually takes the user to Yahoo's. Clickjacking is done by inserting a small piece of JavaScript behind the URL that directs a user to a specific address when they click!

International Domain Name (IDN) Homograph Attack
In our last example of advanced phishing attacks, we will talk about IDN Homograph attacks. This is done by using characters from different language alphabets that look the same as the Latin/English characters. In this example, was registered using Cyrillic characters instead of the Latin/English characters. They look exactly the same, but are very different.

A security researcher registered the above domain. You can read his blog post here 

Clicking the Link
Let’s get back to our original example from the last blog and look at what happens if you are tricked. After clicking the link, you can see below that the URL has changed to yet another domain name. This time it begins with “” but again, notice the trailing forward slash does not appear until much later in the URL, which means that the domain name for this page is actually ""

Phishing Websites Vs. Verified Websites
The next thing to note here is that the rogue site looks very much like the actual Comcast Xfinity authentication page. Below, compare the screenshots of the rogue site and the actual Comcast Xfinity page. They are nearly identical!

The rogue site:

Hikvision Cybersecurity Phishing Article - Image 2

The real site:

Hikvision Cybersecurity Phishing Article - Image 2

Two Steps To Reduce Risk of Phishing Attack
While it is increasingly difficult to identify a well-crafted phishing email, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of falling victim to a phishing attack.

  1. Look carefully at the email headers. Check the "From" and "To" fields for anything suspicious. While we already stated that these can be spoofed, they can also be a good first indicator of a suspicious email. Here is how to check the full email headers in Gmail:
  2. Hover over links and be sure to read the entire URL: When you hover over a link, notice if the website link is different than the listed URL. Also inspect the entire URL from the first forward slash, back to the left, to see where that link is actually going. For example, is actually going to a server called "," not Again, this can be spoofed in some cases but it’s a good indicator of how phishing links can appear to be sites we trust.

Top Seven Tips to Avoid Becoming a Phishing Victim
The following tips from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) provide recommendations of ways to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of phishing attacks:

  1. Filter spam.
  2. Be wary of unsolicited email.
  3. Treat email attachments with caution.
  4. Don’t click links in email messages.
  5. Install antivirus software and keep it up to date.
  6. Install a personal firewall and keep it up to date.
  7. Configure your email client for security.

While phishing has become an effective way for hackers to get individuals to divulge sensitive information or infect a system with malware, taking precautions and following the steps above can minimize security concerns.

For additional examples of phishing, click here to read Part 1 of this blog.  For more Hikvision cybersecurity blogs, visit us online.

IMPORTANT! This model requires non-standard firmware. Do Not Install standard firmware (e.g. v.4.1.xx) on this model. Doing so will permanently damage your system. You must use custom firmware v.4.1.25 from the iDS-9632NXI-I8/16S product page.

View the most updated version of this document here:


The I-series NVR (such as the DS-7716NI-I4) is one of Hikvision's most popular and feature-rich recorders. As such, many firmware revisions have been introduced over the years to continually ensure the product is compatible with the newest technology available. Due to the many revisions, we recommend that the user closely follows the instructions below in order to reduce the amount of time spent as well as the chance of failure.


Database Optimization and Repair

As more affordable IP cameras are introduced over time with greater video resolution and data sizes, more efficient database management also becomes necessary. The introduction of firmware v4.0 brought about a new database architecture in order to be futureproof.


After upgrading to v4.X, the recorder database will need to be converted and optimized. If you are experiencing issues where playback is expected but not found, make sure "Database Repair" is performed as indicated in the procedures and scenarios below.


Preparing the Upgrade

Before proceeding with upgrade, it is recommended that NVR configuration file is exported from the NVR over the network or on to a local USB drive.


Upgrading from v3.4.92 build 170518 or Older

  1. All recorders must reach v3.4.92 before proceeding further. Upgrading from versions before v3.4.92 directly to any version of v4.X will likely cause the recorder to fail.
  2. If the recorder is already at v3.4.92, a full factory default is highly recommended before upgrading to any version of v4.X. There is a high chance of unit failure (requiring RMA) if the unit is not defaulted before upgrade.
  3. After reaching v3.4.92 and performing a full factory default, an upgrade directly to v4.50.00 is acceptable.
  4. After the upgrade is completed and the recorder is reprogrammed, it may be beneficial to perform a Database Repair. For details, refer to the section "Database Optimization and Repair" above.
  5. To verify repair progress, you may refer to the HDD status, or search the recorder log for repair started and stopped entries. Note that while the HDD is repairing, new recordings are still being made, but some existing recordings may not be searchable until repair is complete.
  6. If you continue to observe playback issues after database repair, ensure there are no power, network, or motion detection issues. Should the problem persist, contact technical support.


Upgrading from Any v4.X Build to v4.50.00.

  1. Any v4.X build can be upgraded directly to v4.50.00.
  2. Export configuration is highly recommended before performing the upgrade.
  3. If upgrading from any v4.X version that was not v4.22.005, a Database Repair is recommended. Refer to Step 4 and onwards in the previous section.



Downgrading is not recommended. Due to new features and parameters constantly being added, downgrading may cause the NVR to factory default itself or require a manual default to operate properly.

View the most updated version of this document here:
K-Series DVR upgrade instruction
The Turbo 4 Hybrid DVR K series has multiple models and across different platform and chipset. It also has similar firmware development of other recording product line; DVR K series has also introduced the GUI4.0 to ensure the series to be compatible to the newest technology available. The new database architecture is also brought into the DVR firmware v4.0 to be future proof and for better recording search experience. 

Database Optimization and Repair

As more affordable cameras introduced over time with greater video resolution and data sizes, more efficient database management also becomes necessary. The introduction of firmware v4.0 brought about a new database architecture in order to be futureproof.
After upgrading to v4.X, the recorder database will need to be converted and optimize. If you are experiencing issues, where playback is expected but not found, please make sure to perform "Database Rebuild" as indicated in the procedures and scenarios below.

Preparing the Upgrade

Before proceeding with upgrade, it is recommend exporting DVR configuration file from the DVR over the network or on to a local USB drive.


Action after firmware upgraded 

1. Upgrade the DVR according to the chart above. 

2. Reconfirming Channel's Recording Schedule 

    - Confirm channel's recording schedule is enable. 

    - Check if the channel is on correct recording schedule.

3. Double Check Storage Setting

    - Make sure all channel are assigned to record on its HDD group when the Storage setting is under Group Mode. 

4. Perform Database Rebuild locally. 

    • Some version above support Database Rebuild via web access - K51 and K72

    • Perform Database Rebuild regardless if system is having any database issue symptom. 

    • Database Rebuild process is average ~30 to 60min per TB. The process may still varies depends recording data.

    • After Database Rebuild - Check log to confirm Database Rebuild has went thru properly. 

    • If Database Rebuild Started and Stopped log has been log only within few minutes. Database rebuild may not has been completed properly. It is strongly recommend performing the Database Rebuild again.

    • To check log > System > Log > Information > Database Rebuild Started and Stopped.

    • If the log option is not available - access system via SSH can also obtain similar result.

5. Recording Data is still missing after database rebuild process. 

If the data has not been recorded or has been overwritten, Database rebuild process is not able retrieve those lost data. Have the system upgraded to the latest available firmware version above to prevent any future data lost is strongly recommended for all application.





In light of the global semiconductor shortage, Hikvision has made some hardware changes to the DS-76xxNI-Q1(2)/P NVRs, also known as “Q series.”


These changes do not have any effect on the performance, specifications, or the user interface of the NVRs. For the ease of reference, these modified units are known as “C-Version” units. This is clearly indicated on the NVR label and on the box by the serial number.


The only difference between the “C-Version” and “non-C-Version” is the firmware. The firmware is not interchangeable:


  • The C-Version NVRs must use firmware version v4.31.102 or higher.
  • The non-C-Version (Q series) NVRs must use firmware version v4.30.085 or older.


Please do not be alarmed if a “Firmware Mismatch” message pops up on the screen during the firmware upgrade. This simply means that the firmware does not match the NVR’s hardware. Simply download the correct firmware and the upgrade will go through without any issue.

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