Is your CCTV vulnerable to a network attack?

Connecting CCTV systems to the Internet is very common these days, it gives the user the ability to view and control their CCTV systems remotely.

However, we have found that a high proportion of internet connected systems are vulnerable to attack, either pre-meditated, or using automated ‘bots’.

Such attacks can render a CCTV system useless by either corrupting or deleting the settings, deleting video recordings, or preventing access to the device (Denial of Service attack). They can also be used to cause damage to other devices that are connected to the CCTV system.

In this blog I will highlight some potential vulnerabilities, and give you 5 simple steps to reduce the chances of your CCTV systems being attacked.

Why are Internet connected CCTV systems attacked?

It is unlikely that a hacker or bot wants to attack your CCTV system at all, they are more likely looking for web servers or file servers that they can gain access to.

Unfortunately, modern IP connected CCTV systems often have web servers and file servers built into them which are used to configure the system using web pages, display video images, or download archived video footage.

So even though your CCTV system may not be a prime target for a bot, it can still do some serious damage to your system if they can gain access to it.

How are Internet connected CCTV systems vulnerable?

There are many reasons why a CCTV system may be vulnerable to an attack. The most common being:

  1. The device responds to Ping requests.
  2. It’s using common IP socket ports such as port 80 (HTTP), port 21 (FTP), and port 23 (Telnet), or the default ports.
  3. A low strength password is being used, or the password has not been changed from the manufacturer’s default.
  4. The system is open to connection from any source.
  5. There are vulnerabilities within the DVR software/firmware.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the most common reasons why internet connected CCTV systems are vulnerable.

How do I make my Internet connected CCTV systems less vulnerable?

In the first instance, it is worth addressing each of the points above to see if there are immediate issues which can be resolved:

  • Ensure the CCTV system does not respond to Ping requests – Ping is a method used to detect whether an IP device is connected online. If the DVR (or the router it is connected to) responds to Ping requests, it may alert potential attackers that a device  is available to attack. Turn off Ping response in the Router and DVR to prevent this from happening.
  • Change the IP port that is used to access the unit over the Internet –  If the DVR is using port 80, 21, or 23, see if these can be changed on the DVR itself. If that is not possible, change the router settings to use Port Forwarding, so that traffic on a specific incoming port number will be forwarded to the correct port of the DVR on the network. For example, you could forward any traffic on port 3080 to the DVR on port 80, so any external connection to the IP address on port 3080 will get through, but connections to port 80 will not. You can find out more about Port Forwarding HERE
  • Change the password on the CCTV System– ALWAYS change the manufacturer’s default password. Also, have a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and digits to strengthen the password, for example “A$kMe” is much stronger than “askme”. You can check your password strength HERE
  • Configure your router’s Firewall – Do you really want to allow anybody on the Internet to have access to your CCTV system? The firewall within your router will allow you to limit access to your CCTV to certain IP address ranges or MAC addresses.
  • Ensure that the firmware on the CCTV System is up to date – Manufacturers may address any security or vulnerability issues with newer firmware, always ensure you have the latest firmware to ensure that you have added protection.

There are other methods of increasing security of your Internet connected CCTV systems which are way beyond the remit of this blog, but by implementing these five simple steps, you can reduce the chances of your CCTV system being attacked.

One thing to remember is that a CCTV system is basically a PC, they may not look or operate like one, but underneath they will be running an operating system which may well be Windows or Linux based, meaning that they are vulnerable to the same sorts of threats as desktop PCs.

It’s worth bearing in mind the next time you put one of your customers’ CCTV systems online.

Check your multi-site CCTV installations today

CheckMyCCTV is ideal for monitoring the operation and status of your multi-site installations, especially when sites are located over large geographic areas, are unmanned, or you just need the reassurance that your CCTV systems are working.

It is often difficult to know at any point in time whether your sites are operational, checking manually can be time consuming, repetitive and often inaccurate, especially if there are 10’s or 100’s of sites to check.

CheckMyCCTV not only checks the health of your entire CCTV estate, but also that your sites are configured and operating correctly. Typical operational checks include:

  • Checking that the alarms are operational.
  • Ensuring the site operator is arming/disarming the site.
  • Ensuring that alarms are being monitored by the RVRC,
  • Checking that the system is recording for the required duration, and
  • Checking that the Time and Date of the recordings are accurate.

CheckMyCCTV’s easy to use interface will always keep you up to date with the status of all your sites, no matter where they are.

CheckMyCCTV offers an incredible value proposition for peace of mind – typically less than 1% of the cost of your CCTV installation to monitor your site for a year.

Contact us for a quote or to sign up for a free 14-day trial.

Can you check your CCTV in under 20 seconds?

You can with CheckMyCCTV! The latest updates to the test engine now make it possible to comprehensively check your Dedicated Micros CCTV system and cameras in under 20 seconds*.

As an installer or RVRC, your customers may expect (or demand) that you regularly check their CCTV system. CheckMyCCTV is a simple and most cost effective way to ensure that your customers sites and your reputation remain in good health.

CheckMyCCTV automatically and autonomously checks many aspects of the CCTV system and gives you a status report in less than 20 seconds. If you had the time, patience, and persistence, you could (probably) manually perform all the tests that CheckMyCCTV does.

If you want to give it a try, here’s the tests you’d have to perform……on your marks….get set……GO!

  • Check that you can connect to the DVR.
  • Check that the time and date is correct.
  • Check that all the cameras are working.
  • Check that the unit is recording. (Are you sure it’s recording?)
  • Check that the hard disks are working.
  • Test the network bandwidth of the DVR. (Are you losing the will to live now?)
  • Take a daily configuration backup from the DVR.
  • Check that the DVR is actioning alarms. (Are we nearly there yet?)
  • Check that the DVR is connecting to a central station on alarm, etc etc.

I think you get the picture. In all there are up to 22 individual checks that CheckMyCCTV performs on every unit, every hour of every day.

So, do you really have time to check your CCTV systems manually? Find out how much time and resource CheckMyCCTV can save you, contact us today for a FREE 14-day trial.


* Tests conducted on a standard BT Broadband connection at 6Mb/s download and 330Kb/s upload using a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 PC.

7 ways CheckMyCCTV can enhance your maintenance contracts

Traditional CCTV maintenance contracts are typically ‘reactive’ by definition, consisting of one or two visits to site a year to check the operation of the CCTV system. The contract can also include a guaranteed response time when a fault is reported. This pretty much hasn’t changed since the inception of CCTV installations.

With the advent of network attached CCTV systems, installers can provide a ‘proactive’ maintenance contract option using CheckMyCCTV. Here’s 7 reasons why a proactive maintenance contract, powered by CheckMyCCTV, is beneficial to you and your customers:

  1. Reduce your costs – Accurate and timely health monitoring using CheckMyCCTV can reduce your service and maintenance costs by providing targeted service visits.
  2. Increase revenues – You can add value to your current maintenance contacts by including 24/7 CheckMyCCTV health monitoring to your ‘Platinum’ contracts.
  3. Reduce costly site visits – The chances of a fix in the first visit are greatly increased. Issues are diagnosed remotely, so you know what is wrong before you attend site.
  4. Improve your service offering – In today’s difficult trading environment, you can provide a higher level of service to your customer base than your competitors.
  5. Puts you back in control – CheckMyCCTV diagnoses and reports the faults instead of relying your customers detecting faults.
  6. Manage your security estate more efficiently – CheckMyCCTV can monitor many hundreds of sites, allowing you to manage larger and more geographically diverse security estates.
  7. System checking is automatic – No extra resource is needed to manage CheckMyCCTV, it automatically checks at the intervals you set.

CheckMyCCTV is FREE to try for your CCTV installations. Contact us to discuss how CheckMyCCTV can  enhance your CCTV maintenance contracts and arrange a free 14-day trial.

Van Gogh theft blamed on faulty security

A perfect example of ensuring that your Security systems are working was demonstrated when a Van Gogh was stolen from Cairo Museum back in August. It transpired that none of the alarms were working and only 7 out of 42 cameras were operational.

If you work in the industry you probably thought this was down to shoddy workmanship or poor maintenance, which it may well have been. However, if someone was to ask you how many of your cameras are operational right now, would you be any the wiser? You may be able to check back on the last maintenance visit and point out that everything was working when that was complete, but it may have been many months ago and a lot could have changed since then.

You could give your customers training on how to detect whether the system is operational, but do they have the time, inclination, or skills to do the job properly, after all Security systems are often a grudge purchase for your customers anyway, so they are often locked away only to see the light of day when an incident occurs.

CheckMyCCTV gives you and your customers the tools to ensure that their security systems are working correctly, in the case of the stolen Van Gogh, CheckMyCCTV would have reported that cameras had failed and alarms were not being triggered, so at least the customer or installer would have been aware that their security was severely compromised. It could be argued that this may not have prevented the theft anyway, but to be forewarned is to be forearmed as they say.

Welcome to our Blog

Hello, and welcome to our blog. Here we will be keeping you up to date with what is happening at CheckMySystems, along with hints and tips, product enhancements, and any other news.

Please feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or feedback, we’ll try to respond to all that we can.

Thanks for reading.

Darren Rewston
CheckMySystems Ltd.