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Part 1, Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity on Vulnerabilities: What are Cyber Vulnerabilities?

August 11, 2020

Hikvision HikWire blog article Chuck Davis cyber vulnerabilities part 1

Hikvision senior director of cybersecurity, Chuck Davis, has covered a wide-range of cybersecurity topics in recent HikWire blogs, including a recent two-part blog on vishing scams. Today, Hikvision’s Davis will cover the basics about cyber vulnerabilities.

“Vulnerabilities are a topic that I speak about frequently and that is often misunderstood. I thought it would make for an easy and informative blog, explaining vulnerabilities at a level where the average computer user can understand the topic,” said Davis.

We’ll start with what vulnerabilities are.

What are Vulnerabilities?
The formal definition of a vulnerability can be found here. To put it in layman’s terms, a vulnerability is a weakness in software that, when exploited, can give an attacker the means to do something malicious or unauthorized. While a vulnerability in the context of this article is a weakness in software, it is similar to vulnerabilities in the physical world as well.

Do you remember the Kryptonite bicycle lock? The Kryptonite lock was synonymous with strength. The steel tube was much stronger than traditional chain locks and easier to use and store. However, in 2004 someone figured out that these tough locks could easily be hacked with the innards of a cheap ballpoint pen. There were other instances of similar bicycle locks being opened with canned air and a hammer.

Hikvision HikWire blog article Chuck Davis cyber vulnerabilities image 1

It’s unlikely that bike lock manufacturers purposely placed a “backdoor” in their products so they could be hacked by pens and cans of compressed air. Creative thieves discovered these tricks so they could steal bikes. The same thing happens with software and there are people making millions of dollars a year just by finding vulnerabilities.

Why Should You Care About Vulnerabilities?
Let’s start with your smartphone and home computers. As you probably know, Apple, Microsoft and Google create software updates every month for those devices. Some of those updates add new features but many of them are bug fixes or patches for vulnerabilities. These devices get updates automatically so you don’t have to think much about it beyond your computer or mobile device forcing you to reboot. There are generally three categories of software that the average person uses and each can have vulnerabilities:

  1. Operating Systems: All major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android get automatic updates.
     
  2. Software Applications/Apps: Apps in the iOS and Android app store also get automatic updates from the vendor. However, just because it’s in the app store doesn’t mean that the software developer is supporting and updating those apps so be careful what you install. Software that you install on your computer, like Adobe’s Photoshop, Microsoft Office, finance or tax software, and even games, may or may not come with automatic updates. And, the more software you install, the more likely you are to have vulnerabilities.
     
  3. Firmware: Some systems on your network will have the operating system and software all bundled up into one package called firmware. Firmware is mostly found on Internet of Things (IoT) devices like a smart doorbell or smart light bulb. When these are updated, the whole package of operating system and software are replaced by the new, patched version.

Automatic updates are an essential part of good security hygiene to keep your systems and network secure.

Visit the HikWire blog tomorrow to learn more from Hikvision’s Davis about vulnerabilities and protecting yourself.

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.

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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