Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity on Phishing Scam: Business Email Compromise

April 28, 2020

Hikvision HikWire blog article Chuck Davis cybersecurity Business Email Compromise

Four Hikvision Tips to Boost Cybersecurity and Reduce Risk


The world of cybersecurity has some pretty creative and interesting terms to describe a wide range of attacks such as phishing, juice-jacking, rainbow tables, credential stuffing, and botnet. Today we’ll cover risks associated with Business Email Compromise (BEC), a phishing attack that is simple to execute and can be very costly to the victim.

BEC is a type of phishing attack with the goal of tricking the victim into sending money to the attacker. According to a 2018 FBI report, BEC attacks have earned scammers over $12 billion.

Five Types of BEC
The website reports that there are five types of BEC, outlined below:

  1. Bogus Invoice Scheme: When a business that has a long standing relationship with a supplier is requested to wire funds for invoice payment to an alternate, fraudulent account.
  2. CEO Fraud: When the compromised email account of a high level executive is used to request a wire transfer to a fraudulent account.
  3. Account Compromise: When an employee of a company has their email account compromised and it’s then used to request repayment of an invoice by a customer to a fraudulent account.
  4. Attorney Impersonation: When victims are contacted by fraudsters identifying themselves as lawyers and are pressured into transferring funds to a fraudulent account.
  5. Data Theft: When fraudulent emails are used to request either wage or tax statement (W-2) forms, or a company list of personally identifiable information (PII).

With each of these attack methods, the victim is sent an email in an attempt to trick them into trusting the sender and either revealing sensitive information or transferring funds. Typically, the attacker does enough research to know the name and email address of their target, and the person in the company who would normally ask for large sums of money to be wired somewhere. We’ll call this person the requester. Often the target is the CFO and the requester is the CEO.

In practice, the BEC attack is fairly simple. The attacker sends an email that appears to be from the requestor, to the target. This email requests that a wire transfer be made to a specific account. If the attacker sends a well-crafted email and asks for an amount of money that doesn’t raise suspicion, they will likely reap the rewards of this scam. Below is a BEC email example.


Hikvision HikWire blog article Chuck Davis cybersecurity


These types of attacks have been happening for more than 10 years, but many people have never heard of them. As targets have become more savvy at identifying phishing attacks, the attackers have changed their approach.

What Can You Do?
With a few small changes to your business processes, you can greatly reduce the risk of being a victim of a successful BEC attack. Below are four tips to help you boost cybersecurity:

  1. Education and Awareness: The most important thing you can do is to be aware of this type of attack. Understand that this happens a lot in the business world and make sure that your team knows how to identify these types of scams. Your company needs regular education and awareness training, whether your organization is small or large. Click to learn about an advance phishing method called spear phishing.
  2. Test Your Employees: If your company does not have a cybersecurity education and awareness program that includes internal phishing tests of your employees, consider starting that project. The results are typically eye-opening, but studies show that regular testing of employees makes them much better at identifying phishing attacks.
  3. Verification Processes: Institute processes around money transfers that require secondary verification using a different communication method. For example, if a request comes in through email, verify with the requester over a phone call before transferring funds.
  4. Hire an Expert: Even small and medium sized businesses are being targeted by BEC attacks. While the large corporation likely has a staff of cybersecurity experts on hand who mitigate attacks and manage an education and awareness program, small businesses likely do not. So find an expert. Here is a CSO magazine review of some of the top companies in this business. Listed below are a few companies to review to get you started on you search:

Remember that your email inbox is a dangerous place. Anyone in the world can send you an email. I’m sure you have a spam filter but the spammers and phishers who are good at their job also have them, and they work hard to make sure their emails get past the filters. Read all email with the thought that this might not be what it appears, and respond with cautious behavior.

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.

By downloading and using software and other materials available via this website, you agree to be legally bound by HIKVISION General Terms of Use . If you don’t agree to these terms, you may not download or use any of those materials.

If you are agreeing on behalf of your company, you represent and warrant that you have legal authority to bind your company to the General Terms of Use above. Also you represent and warrant that you are of the legal age of majority in the jurisdiction in which you reside (at least 18 years of age in many countries).