Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity Data Backups Tips: An Easy Way to Ensure Against Hacks and Ransomware

June 11, 2020

Three Cyber Threats that Explain Why You Need to Backup Your Data

Hikvision’s senior director of cybersecurity, Chuck Davis, has written numerous recent blogs on the rise in COVID-19 phishing attacks, hacks and vulnerability exploits. Today, he writes about why we should backup our data.

Backups: Easy as F-A-V-E-1-2-3

Backing up data is something we have been told to do for decades but it is not exciting nor fun, and very easy to forget. Additionally, situations requiring the need to restore a file from backup can be rare so it’s easy to understand why many people don’t back up their files, even though it’s an important part of life with computers. Think of backups like an insurance policy. You do it in case you need it and hope that you never need to use it.

Why Do We Need Backups?

Simply stated, we need backups to prevent data loss. That loss could be caused by a technical failure, theft, fire, a cyberattack, or something we haven’t even thought of yet. Imagine that you are an author finishing up a novel. The hundreds of pages of typed data are the culmination of your work for over a year. Maybe you’re computer-savvy and backup your computer when you think about it, but the last time you thought about it was months ago because you have been laser-focused on finishing this novel. Once you completed the manuscript, but before you sent that document off to the editor, your computer was stolen from your car, and the better part of a year’s worth of work is gone forever.

This type of story happens more frequently than most people realize, and it’s not just theft that is a concern. A computer crash, liquid damage, or a malware infection could also cause catastrophic data loss. Let’s dig a bit deeper into these threats.

  • Hardware failure threat: In the past, the main reason we backed up data was because we were concerned about computer or hard drive failure. This was a real concern before the cloud era because most people created and stored data only on their computer. Hard drives were kinetic, with moving parts and something as simple as dropping a laptop could cause drive failure and data loss. While a laptop falling from a table or backpack can still cause damage, it is less likely these days because laptop storage has become more resistant to vibration damage as solid state drives are more prevalent now. Another hardware failure scenario could be caused by liquid damage from rain, coffee spills or an unfortunate altercation with a bowl of Spaghetti-O’s. This is also a modern-day concern, especially as more people work from home or other remote locations.
  • Loss or theft of hardware threat: Generally, the theft of a computer is an easy thing to prevent. Keep your computer with you, or out of sight from potential thieves. When I worked at IBM years ago, we had a corporate policy that stated, when leaving your laptop in a car, you must cable lock it in the trunk. That way the laptop was out of site but was also somewhat difficult to steal if someone got into the trunk. It’s actually pretty shocking how many people still have laptops stolen each year.  


  • Ransomware threat: This diabolical form of malware is silently installed on someone’s computer after they fall for a phishing attack. You won’t know that your computer is infected with ransomware until it is too late. Ransomware quietly encrypts all of the files and folders on your computer, and any data on connected USB or mounted shared drives, and then uploads the decryption key to the threat actor who tricked you into installing the ransomware. You then see a screen show up on your computer that informs you that your data is encrypted and to get the key to decrypt your files, you have to pay a ransom to the threat actor. Ransoms are often hundreds or thousands of U.S. dollars and are collected in bitcoin so it’s difficult to trace. The good news is, if you have a good backup, you can ignore the ransom and reinstall your operating system and restore your files. While ransomware is evil, it did give us one thing, we can now put a dollar value on backups. In addition to your time, a good and timely backup is at least worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

There is also the unexpected threat: What if your cloud provider is compromised or DDoS’d, goes out of business, or its assets are seized and frozen? I know these are all far-fetched scenarios, but so was the idea that in 2020 we would all be quarantined at home due to a global pandemic. Treat your data as if it is a valuable asset.

Visit our blog tomorrow where we’ll be posting more insights into backup strategy, including where to backup your data.

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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