Using Ethical Hackers to Help Your Company Uncover Vulnerabilities, Part 1

November 16, 2018

Hikvision Implements Extensive Cybersecurity Initiatives

Hikvision Implements Extensive Cybersecurity Initiatives


The Security magazine article, “How to Work with Hackers to Make Your Company More Secure,” offers recommendations to harness the power of ethical hackers to help uncover vulnerabilities and address your organization’s security concerns.

From the article: Ethical hackers are “a community of puzzle-solvers – curious and eager to share the vulnerabilities we uncover that can have repercussions for your company and your customers. Many major enterprises – including Google, Facebook and automaker GM – understand the value of the hacker community and already employ bug bounty programs, which offer payment."  

The article said that payments range  "from small amounts of cash or a t-shirt" to hundreds of thousands to hackers who discover vulnerabilities and follow the responsible disclosure process. "… By embracing the diverse community of hackers and tapping into their passion, you can significantly reduce your company’s risk profile too.”

There are two main reasons to hire an ethical hacker.

  1. Software/product testing: If you are a software developer or develop your own software for a product, you might want to have one of the last phases of your software development lifecycle to be having a third party test your software (or firmware) for vulnerabilities.
  2. Network/enterprise testing: This occurs mostly when an organization wants to verify that their computing environment is reasonably secure against hackers. This service can be limited to a single website or expanded to the whole enterprise environment, including internal systems, cloud systems and social engineering (tricking people into sharing information or giving access to resources that should not be given).

There are essentially three ways to recruit or hire an ethical hacker/security researcher to test your products and/or network environment.

  1. Like Google, Apple and Microsoft, you can set up a bug bounty program that is managed internally by the company with rules and requirements documented on the company’s website. Payment is only made if a vulnerability is discovered.
  2. Have a third party manage the bug bounty program for you. There are many companies, like HackerOne and Bugcrowd, who will manage the program with their vetted team of hackers. If one of those hackers finds a vulnerability, they are compensated based on the criticality of the vulnerability. For example, a critical vulnerability will typically pay more than a low-severity vulnerability. The good news is that your company will define the program and possible payouts, while the vendor will manage the program. Payment is only made if a vulnerability is discovered.
  3. Contact a penetration testing/ethical hacking team from a reputable company. Many companies offer these services, such as Veracode, HP, IBM, and WhiteHat Security. Payment is made for the testing.

Bug bounty programs are not as common in the security industry as they are in major IT companies. At Hikvision, we have an open door policy with security researchers, and we actively encourage security researchers who believe they have found a security vulnerability to report it to us.

Hikvision has developed an internal cybersecurity team to address vulnerabilities, educate partners on best practices, and help address security concerns.

Hikvision’s Extensive Cybersecurity Initiatives
Hikvision has implemented a number of cybersecurity initiatives over the past year to ensure partners have resources to reduce security concerns and address potential vulnerabilities. In May 2018, leading industry publication Security Sales & Integration (SSI) noted Hikvision as being among "the most proactive” manufacturers in the realm of cybersecurity. The article referenced these Hikvision initiatives:

  1. Establishing an internal cybersecurity team by hiring former IBM executive security architect, Chuck Davis, as Hikvision’s director of cybersecurity.
  2. Introduction of the dedicated cybersecurity hotline
  3. Launching the 2018 U.S. Cybersecurity road show beginning on March 27, 2018 in Los Angeles
  4. Opening the industry’s first Source Code Transparency Center

Since the article, Davis has been appointed to the SIA Cybersecurity Advisory Board and written numerous blogs about cybersecurity best practices and insights. You can read more Hikvision cybersecurity blogs here.

Hikvision also recently achieved the U.S. Government Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 Level 1 certification, an encryption standard created by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to be used in Hikvision IP cameras and NVR products.

In addition, the Hikvision Security Response Center (HSRC) has been accepted as part of the global incident response program,

Look for Part 2 of Using Ethical Hackers to Help Your Company Uncover Vulnerabilities next week.  In that blog, we'll answer these questions: "What are vulnerabilities?", "What about vulnerabilities in video surveillance?", and "What is the Responsible Disclosure Process?"

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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