By Kelly Jackson Higgins
Aug 04, 2009
Researchers put a new spin on an old attack at Defcon last week,
demonstrating how to execute man-in-the-middle attacks on IP video.
In one attack, researchers from Viper Lab showed how a criminal could
tamper with an IP video surveillance system to cover up a crime by
replacing the video with another benign clip. In another demo, they
eavesdropped on a private IP video call.
IP video -- for videoconferencing, IP TV, video streaming applications,
and video surveillance -- is gradually catching on in organizations, the
federal government, and even in professional sports arenas like the
Dallas Cowboys' new state-of-the-art stadium. But like any IP
technology, IP video can be vulnerable to attack if it's not properly
locked down. "These attacks are based on ARP poisoning/man-in-the
middle. You can do this with email and VoIP -- we're just doing a new
twist on an old attack to show people that these vulnerabilities are out
there for IP video," says Jason Ostrom, director of Viper Lab, the
research arm of Sipera Systems, which sells security products for VoIP
and unified communications technologies.
Ostrom says only one in 20 organizations secure their IP video
communications with encryption or other measures, according to Sipera's
research. He and fellow researcher Arjun Sambamoorthy used homegrown
open source tools to perform the hacks during their session at Defcon:
"These tools can show and help people understand the risks and impact"
of not securing IP video, Ostrom says. "These are vulnerabilities in the
configuration and deployment of IP video in the network -- not
vulnerabilities in the video products."
The so-called UCSniff tool performs video eavesdropping, while VideoJak
intercepts and replays video. "We used UCSniff to record a 'safe' video
stream, then converted it to an AVI file. Then we used the VideoJak tool
that also supports man-in-the-middle," he says. VideoJak intercepts the
video stream, and replaces it with a malicious or phony video payload.
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