Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., revealed that through the USB and connections to WiFi networks, today’s modern cameras are vulnerable to ransomware and malware attacks.
Since modern cameras no longer use film to capture and reproduce images, the International Imaging Industry Association devised a standardised protocol known as Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) to transfer digital images from camera to PC. Initially focused on image transfer, this protocol has evolved to include dozens of different commands that support anything from taking a live picture to upgrading the camera’s firmware.
Check Point Research aimed to access the cameras and exploit vulnerabilities in the protocol to infect the camera. For the research, Check Point used Canon’s EOS 80D DSLR camera which supports both USB and WiFi, and critical vulnerabilities in the PTP were found. Given that the protocol is standardized and embedded in other camera brands, Check Point believes similar vulnerabilities can be found in cameras from other vendors as well.
Here are some things camera owners can do to avoid being infected:
- Make sure your camera is using the latest firmware version, and install a patch if available.
- Turn off the camera's WiFi when not in use.
- When using WiFi, prefer using the camera as the WiFi access point, rather than connecting your camera to a public WiFi network.
Check Point Research informed Canon about the vulnerabilities and the companies worked together to patch them. Canon published the patch as part of an official security advisory in English and Japanese.