Digital cameras vulnerable to ransomware, Check Point researchers find
13 August, 2019, 05:39
Check Point notes that cameras are a great attack target because they contain valuable personal photos that folks would be willing to pay for.
Check Point chose to use the Canon EOS 80D for its tests as the device has both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity along with an active modding community that develops open source software for the camera.
PTP, which is unauthenticated in both USB and Wi-Fi modes, is particularly vulnerable to attacks by hackers who are either in close proximity (Wi-Fi) or who have already hijacked a PC (USB).
Check Point researchers set out to see if they could access the cameras and take advantage of vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect the camera.
Still, security researchers at Check Point have at least managed to play with the formula a little, and have discovered a way of making a Canon EOS 80D hold an owner's photographs to ransom, with the demand for cash displayed on the device's 3in TFT screen. Imagine you are on a holiday and have many GBs worth of photos stored on your SD card. But while this particular model was chosen for the experiment, researchers warn that any internet-connected digital camera could be vulnerable to the attacks.
The researchers say there are a few things camera owners can do to avoid being infected: make sure the camera is using the latest version issued by the firm, and install a patch if available; turn off the camera's WiFi when not in use; when using WiFi, use the camera as the WiFi access point, rather than connecting the camera to a public WiFi network.
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"As PTP is widely used by all digital camera vendors, we do believe that similar vulnerabilities will affect other vendors as well", Itkin said. "Hackers could then hold peoples' precious photos and videos hostage until the user pays a ransom for them to be released".
Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is being used in an unsecure network, such as in a free Wi-Fi environment.
As Canon explains, there have been no reported cases of this vulnerability actually being exploited to install ransomware IRL, but now that the info is out there, the company is working as quickly as possible to patch affected DSLRs.
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