Are Hikvision cameras secure?

People want to purchase good security cameras with a fair tag price. Because Hikvision cameras seem to qualify for such a case, people always ask me the question, "Are Hikvision cameras secure?" Let's talk about that.

Hikvision IP camera on Amazon Echo Show

Who is Hikvision?

Hikvision is a company established in China in 2001 with 49% foreign capital. It employs more than 18,000 people and has a market capitalization of more than 20 billion USD (official data from 2016).

The company manufactures surveillance systems and other devices related to the security industry. Hikvision is very popular among security systems integrators and resellers that sell their products worldwide.

How secure are Hikvision cameras?

No security system is 100%. That being said, no matter which security camera manufacturer you choose, there's always a risk of running into a problem.

You may find some reports about Hikvision camera vulnerability, but this does not mean their cameras are totally insecure. If you look harder enough, it's also possible to find reports about security issues on cameras, recorders, and software from big companies like Pelco, Axis, Samsung, Bosch, Panasonic, Sony, etc.

All those companies have product vulnerability issues fixed with firmware upgrades, and Hikvision is not different since they have been fixing problems in their products this way.

The media and the Hikvision competitors 

Case in point, due to its rapid success as a security camera manufacturer, Hikvision got a spotlight in the security industry and is given a hard time to its competitors.

I'm not saying that Hikvision products are safer or better than it's competitors, but it is clear that any vulnerability in their products attracts more media attention.

I've been working for Samsung and Hanwha Techwin for years, and I could find vulnerabilities in their products that were later correct by firmware. That's a standard practice that I could also see in products from other manufacturers.

Most of the time, such vulnerabilities were corrected without any news exposure, and the customers never realized that the problem even existed.

For some reason, I'm not entirely aware of; Hikvision gets the spotlight every time somebody reports a product vulnerability issue.

Trusted by security authorities

In 2018 Hikvision was designated by security authorities as a CVE Numbering Authority (CNA). This means Hikvision doesn't need to use a third party to check their products for potential vulnerabilities and can add to the list themselves. 

This designation shows that Hikvision is trusted by the security industry and can fix vulnerabilities issues in a timely matter.

Banned from the US government

Hikvision products were banned from the US government facilities by the Trump administration. This fact occurred after some vulnerability reports on cameras that had a vulnerability issue and provided a backdoor to the product.

Since the cameras were installed in US facilities owned by the government because they represent a risk to national security, so the products were banned.

The ban applies to the government only. Companies and individuals can still purchase Hikvision cameras in any dealer and even on Amazon.

Conclusion

Back to the question, "Are Hikvision cameras secure?" I believe they are secure enough to be used in places that do not threaten national security.

Just to be clear, I'm not defending Hikvision or any other brand. I only think that we should not bash a company just because some bad news or reports say the products have some vulnerability because all other manufacturers also do. 

If you want to use Hikvision or a security system from any other manufacturer, make sure you follow the guidelines to keep the system updated and just don't install cameras in sensitive places that can compromise intimacy.

You should NOT install security camera on bedrooms, bathrooms, dressers and places like that even if they come from the big manufacturers

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