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Canon Photographers Beware! Some DSLR Cameras are Vulnerable to Ransomware

By David J. Crewe on August 12th 2019

Canon has issued an official security advisory for it’s WiFi capable DSLR cameras after a technology security company released a video showing that they could remotely hack into, and install ransomware on a Canon 80D. This information was shared with Canon before they made the video public giving them the time to get an updated firmware release out along with the official Service Advisory.

[Related Reading: Fuji Issues Service Advisory for the GFX 100 Shutter Release “Lock” Issue]

The flaw in Canon’s Wireless Picture Transfer Protocol was discovered by the company Check Point research during a Hacking Conference (DEF CON 2019), and as you can see in the (silent) video above, they were able to take complete control over the camera. Installing “ransomware” that encrypts all of the images and files on the memory card and holds them hostage until the victim pays to receive the encryption key to get everything released.

These vulnerabilities would allow a malicious actor to take over a target’s DSLR camera through both WiFi and USB, giving him full control over it. Such an infection could, for example, be used for installing a Ransomware on the camera, and demanding ransom for both the images and the camera itself.”

Effectively this hack would allow the perpetrators to do anything they wanted with the camera, stealing and locking the images, and completely locking out the user from being able to use it. Allegedly, even after a full factory reset of the device itself.

The hack was developed based on Magic Lantern, which is already an open sourced and readily available software for malicious coders to take advantage of. Meaning you’d have to have this active on your camera for the hackers to take full advantage of. But it’s still entirely possible that the vulnerabilities found in the Magic Lantern system are present in Canon and other manufacturers Wireless Transfer Protocols. Check Point is quoted as saying they “believe that similar vulnerabilities can be found in the PTP implementations of other vendors as well.”

If you’re tech savvy, you can read the full details of the hack in the the article from Check Point Research here. Canon has stated that there have been zero reported cases of this exploit actually being taken advantage of out in the wild, but now that the news is out there in the public eye, they are working as fast as possible to make sure any camera that’s possibly vulnerable to this attack is patched right away.

Until every wifi capable camera has been updated though, canon has stated the following;

  • Ensure the suitability of security-related settings of the devices connected to the camera, such as the PC, mobile device, and router being used.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is being used in an unsecure network, such as in a free Wi-Fi environment.
  • Do not connect the camera to a PC or mobile device that is potentially exposed to virus infections.
  • Disable the camera’s network functions when they are not being used.
  • Download the official firmware from Canon’s website when performing a camera firmware update.

If you own a WiFi-connected Canon DSLR, be sure to check Canon’s Support website religiously until an appropriate firmware update has been released and installed. I’m personally intrigued to hear more about what would happen if you completely wipe your camera and memory card when this hack happens? Or if it’s even possible to fully format the memory card after this encryption goes live? Either way, as advantageous as it is to have these new wirelessly enabled cameras and devices, it’s scary to realize just how easy it is to possibly hack into them when you’re out in the wild! What do you think? let us know in the comments below

Via Canon, Hacker News, & Petapixel
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David J. Crewe is a full-time commercial photographer and Senior Editor with SLR Lounge. Based out of both Southern California & Las Vegas, Nevada.

View his work and blog: DavidJCrewe.com

Follow his Instagram: @DavidJCrewe

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