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Modern cameras are vulnerable to ransomware and malware

By 28 August 2019No Comments

Check Point Research has revealed that through the USB port and connections to WiFi networks, modern cameras are vulnerable to ransomware and malware attacks.


As modern cameras no longer use film to capture and reproduce images, the International Imaging Industry Association has developed a standardized protocol known as Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer digital images from the camera to the PC. Initially focused on image transfer, this protocol has evolved to include dozens of different commands that support everything from taking a live image to updating camera firmware.


Check Point Research tried to access cameras and exploit protocol vulnerabilities to infect the device. During the research, Check Point used Canon's EOS 80D DSLR camera which supports both USB and WiFi, and critical vulnerabilities were found in the PTP. As the protocol is standardized and integrated into other camera brands, Check Point believes similar vulnerabilities can also be found in cameras from other manufacturers.


"Any 'smart' device, including the DSLR camera, is subject to attack," says Eyal Itkin, Security Researcher, Check Point Software Technologies. “The cameras are no longer just connected to the USB port, but also to the WiFi network and the surrounding environment. This makes them more vulnerable to threats, as attackers can inject ransomware into both the camera and the PC it is connected to. The photos could end up being held hostage until the user pays the ransom for their release ”.


Here are some things camera owners can do to avoid getting infected:


Make sure your camera is using the latest firmware and install a patch if available.

Turn off the camera's WiFi when not in use.

When using WiFi, prefer to use the camera as a WiFi access point, rather than connecting the camera to a public WiFi network.


Check Point Research notified Canon about the vulnerabilities and the two companies worked together to fix them. Canon has released the security patch in English and Japanese. "



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