Ransomware Can Now Be Remotely Installed On DSLR Cameras

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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).

Security firm Check Point Research chose to explore how straightforward it might be for someone with nefarious intent to compromise a camera, and discovered that it wasn't as hard as you might hope.

There's a brand new category of devices that could be vulnerable to a ransomware attack: DSLR Cameras. Since then, they've worked together with Canon to patch the vulnerabilities that were found, which is why these findings were released alongside an official Security Advisory from Canon itself. Once taken over, ransomware was installed which encrypted the photos and demanded a ransom to free them.

Digital cameras use Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer digital files and the firm's researchers discovered how to exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect a camera with ransomware, which they showed off at this year's Defcon security conference. "In addition, threats such as targeted Ransomware attacks, DNS attacks and Cryptominers will continue to be relevant in 2019, and security experts need to stay attuned to the latest threats and attack methods to provide their organisations with the best level of protection", Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence and Research, Products, Check Point, said in a statement.

Check Point said: "Initially focused on image transfer, PTP now contains dozens of different commands that support anything from taking a live picture to upgrading the camera's firmware".

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The researchers believe camera models from other vendors may also include similar vulnerabilities.

Check Point Research, the threat intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies, aimed to access the cameras and exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect the camera. "The combination of price, sensitive contents and wide-spread consumer audience makes cameras a lucrative target for attackers".

The team, led by researcher Eyal Itkin, demonstrated in a video how a hacker could encrypt images on a SD card and make them inaccessible to the camera's owner through a WiFi network.

Researchers downloaded the firmware for the Canon camera and were able to reverse engineer the code with the aid of tools from the open source community. It's also recommended that camera owners leave the device's Wi-Fi turned off when it is not in use.