Chinese Cameras and the National Defense Authorization Act

In a recent move to protect federal agencies against vulnerabilities in their security networks, the U.S government and Congress has imposed a ban on Chinese-made surveillance cameras. An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is Defense Department’s annual budget and spending outline, specified that federal agencies cannot purchase cameras made by Chinese vendors Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. and Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.


Why the drastic measure? Covert back-door access was discovered by cyber-security firm ReFirm Labs—access that would allow unauthorized people to tap into the cameras, and send information to China. Hikvision is 42 percent owned by the Chinese government, and the potential of a foreign power having that kind of unauthorized access US federal agencies is, clearly, a security risk.  It should be said that no evidence of spying or wrongdoing has been publicized, but the potential is there, and it’s scary enough to prompt large-scale surveillance crackdowns throughout the government. (You can read more about that here.)



What does this mean for you?

Well, maybe nothing. If you aren’t working with surveillance systems that are impacted by the NDAA amendment, you certainly aren’t required to take any action. But—are you willing to take a chance that your hardware and surveillance is vulnerable to attack?


Hackers look for vulnerabilities to exploit, and almost certainly for malicious reasons. There are plenty of reasons why hackers might want to break into your security camera system, which makes ongoing and proactive cyber-security measures a must—regardless of what you’re using the system for.


What is Leverage’s view?

Hikvision is the world’s largest security camera provider, but they’re certainly not the only one.  In fact, in anticipation of greater restrictions going forward, some security vendors are already refusing to purchase equipment from Hikvision and Dahua.


Detect Engagement

At Leverage, the first part of our engagement is to conceptualize and design the best system to meet our client’s requirements. When it is our choice for camera selection, we recommend and use Hanwha. We can support other OEMs, and do so when requested by our clients, however we are development partners with Hanwha and have leveraged their capabilities within the DETECT solution for a powerful and seamless alliance of hardware and software.


Hanwha manufactures their hardware in South Korea and Vietnam, therefore do not put users at risk of purchasing federally banned devices. Hanwha’s cyber-security practices are well documented, and you can read more about them here.


What’s the bottom line? Know your requirements, know the restrictions, and find an experienced technology partner you can trust to help you with the process.