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Microsoft Warns of Android Ransomware Vulnerability, Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity on 4 Tips to Avoid Ransomware

November 23, 2020

Hikvision HikWire blog article Android Ransomware Vulnerability

Hikvision aims to provide timely news related to the latest cyber threats. In today’s blog, Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity, Chuck Davis, will overview ransomware, detail a ransomware Android vulnerability, and provide tips to help you avoid becoming a victim to this threat.

What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a diabolical form of malware that 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 will then see a screen show up on your computer that informs you that your data is encrypted. 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 is difficult to trace. The good news is, if you have a good data 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 worth at least hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Android Ransomware Vulnerability

Microsoft Warns of Android Ransomware
Mobile ransomware is not new, but Microsoft recently wrote about a “piece of a particularly sophisticated Android ransomware with novel techniques and behavior, exemplifying the rapid evolution of mobile threats that we have also observed on other platforms.”

As with most Android ransomware, this ransomware doesn’t actually encrypt the files. Instead, it locks the mobile device screen with a ransom note so the device becomes unusable. “Once installed, the ransomware takes over the phone's screen and prevents the user from dismissing the ransom note — which is designed to look like a message from local law enforcement telling users they committed a crime and need to pay a fine”, reported ZDNet.

4 Tips to Avoid Ransomware
Ransomware is a rapidly growing problem that we see impacting servers, desktops and mobile devices in homes, businesses, and governments. Below are several tips to help you avoid becoming a victim to it.

  1. Data Backups: The first and most important thing that you can do is to back up your devices. Check out the Hikvision article on data backups.
     
  2. Patching: Patches are updates to a computer program or its data that improve or fix it. By installing patches as soon as they are released or setting automatic patching where available, you can keep your system up to date.
     
  3. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enable MFA where available to better protect your accounts and devices. This also protects against credential stuffing attacks.
     
  4. Use a Password Manager: Using a password management tool can help you create strong, unique passwords for every account. A password manager is a software tool that is used to store all of your passwords in an encrypted file so that you, and no one else, have very easy access to them, helping to minimize security concerns.

For more tips, and to learn what you should do if you become the victim of a ransomware attack, read the tip sheet at staysafeonline.org. For more on cybersecurity vulnerabilities and trends, visit this Hikvision link.

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:

https://techsupportca.freshdesk.com/en/support/solutions/articles/17000113531-i-series-nvr-firmware-upgrade-instructions

 

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

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.

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