Security vulnerabilities in Chinese surveillance cameras raise concerns in Europe

According to a report on October 6, a critical vulnerability found in surveillance cameras of the Chinese company Hikvision, which is widely used in Europe, added to previous concerns about the company’s data practices. Politico.. Hikvision is controlled by China’s military industry group and has been accused of working with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for violating human rights against Uighurs.

Watchful IP, an anonymous security researcher, has discovered a number of Hikvision camera software that are vulnerable to security. [a] According to the device report Released on September 18th.

“This is the highest level of critical vulnerability,” reads the report. “Deploying these cameras to sensitive sites can put even critical infrastructure at risk.”

Politico reported that the research group’s IPVM could affect 100 million cameras worldwide. According to Watchful IP, most of the affected models are recent, but this vulnerability can be traced back to at least some 2016 models.

According to Politico, Hikvision is a leading provider of surveillance systems and cameras in Europe. For example, Spanish airport operator AENA recently adopted Hikvision as a supplier of 175 cameras distributed across dozens of airports, including Madrid Barajas and El Prat in Barcelona.

Hikvision Acknowledged vulnerability And by making new software available to repair it, data privacy concerns weren’t alleviated.

According to Hikvision’s 2020 Annual Report (pdf), The company’s “real manager” is China Electronics Technology Group Ltd. (CETC), a military-industrial complex group in China. CETC is also “China’s largest electronic defense contractor”.

China’s military-industrial complex is forced to comply with CCP, even if it requires companies to hand over data. Hikvision is overseen by a party committee and has many CCP representatives within the company.Also, the company’s official website Said CCP activities within the enterprise with the aim of “maintaining and improving CCP leadership”.

According to former British Security Minister Sir Alan West, the CCP can use the data to monitor the population. In a debate at the House of Commons, he said China “uses facial recognition and they use this information on a large scale to control their population.”

“The system collects a lot of personal data,” Audrey Fritz, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Politico. “The main concern is that it doesn’t stay in the country, it’s not bound by the laws and regulations of your country … [China’s] The laws and regulations that Chinese companies are required to hand over to government authorities are of concern. “

Due to these concerns, the European contract with Hikvision prompted opposition from several authorities.

European Parliamentarian Alex Boss warned Politico, “Europe is careful to allow foreign forces to over-control the system and’may attack us in very sensitive areas.'” I need to do it. “

Hikvision has also been accused of cooperating with the CCP’s persecution of religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In 2019, the Trump administration blacklisted Hikvision among 27 other organizations. These Chinese companies were involved in China’s oppression, mass arbitrary detention, and human rights abuses and abuses in conducting high-tech surveillance campaigns against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of the Muslim minority group. .. Commercial.

China’s treatment of Uighurs has been designated as “genocide” by previous and current US administrations, Canada, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Belgium, the Czech Republic, the British Parliament, and international legal experts and scholars.

According to the Norwegian Ethics Council (pdf), Hikvision surveillance cameras are spread throughout the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, especially near mosques and labor camps, Politico reported.

Danella Perez Schmieros

Danella Perez Schmieros

Chinese reporter


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