How-to: Secure your Hikvision camera from hackers, spies and your government

Hikvision has recently been in the news thanks to revelations about its links to the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China. Naturally fears about whether they are compromised ‘by design’ have been raging on the Internet ever since. While there is no doubt that Hikvision is part-owned by the Chinese government, there has been no evidence yet of any backdoor or that Hikvision cameras are ‘dialing back home’ to their maker.

Okay but what could go wrong? Could a backdoor already exist in your Hikvision camera or NVR? Maybe. But so could your WiFi router or even your mobile phone. You are not about to stop using cell phones because the UK government (GHCQ) and the US government (NSA) are known to be able to hack into them, are you? So while its important to be aware that Hikvision is part-owned by the Chinese government, your best course of action is to take sensible precautions and not get too paranoid. Yep be reasonably paranoid but not tin foil hat paranoid!


So if you have Hikvision cameras, what should you do to protect them from hackers, spies or nosy governments? The following steps apply to any security camera, not just Hikvisions by the way:

  1. Disable uPNP
  2. Disable P2P
  3. Disable anonymous visit
  4. Disable SSH

Disable uPNP

uPNP or Universal Plug n Play was created to make life easier for us by letting various devices discover each other on a network and work with each other. Today as we edge into 2018, plug n’ play sounds like no big deal, hey when you plug in anything into a USB port, it just work right? Plug n’ Play. Simples.

Well there was a time, not so long ago, that 11 year old me tried to install a Plug n Play 56 kbps modem and trust me it was anything but Plug n’ Play. Things have come a long way since then and the stuff the uPNP can do is amazing, such as letting your computer automatically configure new printers. The same uPNP can also let security cameras auto-configure your WiFi router for remote access or cloud storage by setting up port forwarding without your help or even without your knowledge.

Hold on, so this very useful uPNP software can let my security cameras make outgoing connections without my explicit permission? uPNP was originally intended to let devices on a local network talk to each other, and that’s why the protocol doesn’t even have an authentication method by default. If all the devices involved were on your local network, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But as uPNP was extended to devices exposed to the Internet and used to automate port forwarding, various security implementations were created. Unfortunately many networking devices such as WiFi routers have flawed security implementations of uPNP and that’s why the US government recommends disabling uPNP altogether.

Here’s how you disable uPNP on Hikvision cameras and NVRs:
Log in to your Hikvision’s web admin page and navigate to Configuration > Network > Basic Settings > NAT. Make sure Enable uPnP is not ticked and click Save.

Hikvision - Disable uPNP - VueVille

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Disable P2P

The next one to disable is P2P. Hikvision calls it Platform Access. You will find this in Configuration > Network > Advanced Settings > Platform Access. Make sure the check box for Enable is not ticked and click Save.

Hikvision - Disable P2P - VueVille

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Disable Anonymous Visit

You are going to find it under Configuration > System > Security > Anonymous Visit. Disable Anonymous Visit and click Save.

Hikvision - Disable anonymous visit - VueVille

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Disable SSH

You are going to find it under Configuration > System > Security > Security Service. Now uncheck “Enable SSH” and click Save.

Hikvision - Disable SSH - VueVille

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