DVTEL launches cyber defense tools for video surveillance cameras, software

April 15, 2015
Company's IP-mmune safety modules protect camera installations against network vulnerabilities

The numerous, large-scale data breaches that have impacted organizations across multiple vertical markets in recent years have not only highlighted the importance of safeguarding sensitive customer information, but they have also raised awareness about the vulnerability of video surveillance networks as an ever-increasing number of end users make the switch to IP. Despite the well-publicized risks, it’s not an issue that many within the industry have sought to address on a broad scale. This year at ISC West, however, DVTEL is introducing a new solution called IP-mmune to help protect cameras against the threat of viruses and other malicious software. Specifically, IP-mmune incorporates cyber defense mechanisms within the company’s video software and hardware products to help seal them off from outside attacks or to isolate them from the corporate network in the off chance they do become infected.    

“We are one of the first companies in the physical security business taking a step up and investing R&D resources to make our video systems protected against cyber threats,” said Ron Grinfeld, global marketing director, vertical marketing, DVTEL. “The idea here is to provide a full suite of multi-layer protections for our direct customers, our resellers, so they don’t have to worry about it,”

According to DVTEL President and CEO Yoav Stern, the practice of cyber defense and protecting against viruses, worms and malware has been a non-stop challenge within the IT community for the past 20 years. Conversely, with the transition from analog to IP in video surveillance just really beginning to pick up momentum around the mid-2000s, protecting devices like cameras from cyber intrusions is something that physical security practitioners are only beginning to wrap their head around.

“Cyber defense – and I say cyber defense because there is no cybersecurity, it is a misleading term because the defense is only as good until the next attack becomes more sophisticated and you have to change your defense – has been a way of life in the IT environment. The transition to IP on the video side came in an environment where the operating procedures were analog video and the issue of cyber defense and penetration and hacking was non-existent,” explained Stern.

Additionally, Stern said that when the industry was beginning to position itself for the digital push, many video installations at the time operated on their own networks independent from the rest of the organization.

“Slowly, around 2010 or 2012, things started to merge and we saw pressure from the IT environment because it was interfering with the network. That was an issue over who controls what, who controls the packets moving over the wires and who controls the priorities, but suddenly and only now, IT has realized that the IP networks are a big black hole as much as hacking and malware because the IP networks are driven by applications whose entire focus is performance, speed and reliability,” continued Stern. “The video packets get full priority in penetrating firewalls because there is not enough time to hold back that data to make sure that it’s not ‘dirty.’ You can’t do that with video. If you stop video for even a split second, you create latency and you cannot view it in real time.”

Now, according to Stern, IT administrators have started to realize that the vast majority of camera manufacturers have not built in protection against cyber threats. The problem is that when IT safeguards are added after the fact, the performance of the network could be irreparably damaged.

“Defense affects performance. And if defense in the IP video world is not going to be constructed right, it will affect performance,” said Stern.

Inevitably, Stern said that cyber defense features like IP-mmune will become more commonplace throughout the industry.

“We believe this is the direction IP video networks are going towards sooner rather than later to prove that the IP network is not going to be an open gate to be infiltrated,” said Stern. “We are going to construct our VMS, our software and our cameras with the proper protection and we’re not looking to protect IT networks because they have their own issues to deal with. We are going to build the IP networks we install… in a way that the IT organizations will be convinced that they are secured from us. We will make sure if something comes in that it won’t be from our network.”  

About the Author

Joel Griffin | Editor-in-Chief, SecurityInfoWatch.com

Joel Griffin is the Editor-in-Chief of SecurityInfoWatch.com, a business-to-business news website published by Endeavor Business Media that covers all aspects of the physical security industry. Joel has covered the security industry since May 2008 when he first joined the site as assistant editor. Prior to SecurityInfoWatch, Joel worked as a staff reporter for two years at the Newton Citizen, a daily newspaper located in the suburban Atlanta city of Covington, Ga.