Dan Dunkel, the president of New Era Associates, a frequent speaker and writer, emailed Security Magazine editors and industry leaders, many from the Security Executive Council, after attending the Black Hat and DEFCON hacker conferences in Las Vegas.

Security Magazine on the Web shares Mr. Dunkel’s report here. Helpful links are at the end of this report.

“I found one particular presentation very interesting and disturbing. I witnessed (with eight hundred others) a real time hack of a live video stream that has BIG ramifications on the security industry. Imagine a bank vault getting robbed while the surveillance video showed nothing happening! (no, this is not a movie)

“In its simplest form, the hack — conducted with two free tools developed by researchers at Viper Lab — allows someone to intercept and copy video from IP surveillance cameras to spy on the secured premises. But it would also allow the hacker to replace a legitimate video stream with a bogus stream, permitting a thief or corporate spy to enter an office while the security guard sees only a still-image of an empty room on his monitor!

“I pulled some text from the InformationWeek article covering the event below, and added a few comments.”

Using an advanced VoIP sniffing tool the lab created called UCSniff, the hack captured a video stream from a Cisco IP video surveillance system. Once the stream is captured to a laptop, it’s converted to a raw H.264 file and then to an .avi file. Then using another tool the lab developed they inserted their own video into the stream by performing an ARP poisoning man-in-the-middle attack.

The original video showing part of an office desk and chair was replaced with a clip from the film The Italian Job. In the second part of the attack, as an arm reached in to steal a water bottle from the chair, the hacker replaced the live feed with a still shot of the room taken before the thief appeared, and fed it through the system in a continuous loop. The water bottle was removed while the video showed it remaining on the desk. This generated thunderous applause from the DEFCON crowd.

The company conducted security assessments on the UC networks of more than 100 Fortune 500 companies in the banking, credit card processing, health care and financial services industries, and found that only five percent had proper security protections in place, such as enabling the encryption feature on their video systems.

According to Mr. Dunkel, “these folks offer ‘real time protection of video content,’ wired or mobile handhelds! They are a private firm and offer VoIP appliances, encryption expertise, research in VoIP, IM, and unified comms., and vulnerability assessments. In all, 80 very very talented techies. THESE ARE THE GOOD GUYS! Viper Labs is part of a larger Dallas based firm.

“I think this is a trend we want to be in front of before it catches the industry with its collective pants down. It looked really easy from where I was sitting. Education is the key to good defense, but the cyber ball keeps moving and adjustments need to be made.
Check out Dan Dunkel’s Web site at www.NewEraAssociates.com

The DEFCON abstract is at:


Sipera Systems, in real time UC security, enables enterprises to simplify and confidently deploy their VoIP and unified communications over any network to any device while service providers can protect and quickly offer new IP-based communication services. Backed by the extensive vulnerability research of the Sipera Viper Lab, the Sipera UC-Sec products provide comprehensive threat protection, policy enforcement, access control, and privacy in a single, real-time appliance. For more information, visit http://www.sipera.com