As computer and network technology continues to burrow into the devices we depend on for daily connectivity, there is a clear and present danger for all connected devices. The incidences of hacking occurring on massive numbers of installed devices means that — for adequate cyber security protection — equipment such as IP cameras may well need to have their software upgraded to install security patches, stability fixes and potentially new features. It is important to consider that when software is written for a specific product, it likely is programmed to protect the device from currently-known hacker attack methods. Every day, new hacks and attacks are developed by the “bad” guys. Software writers can’t protect against the “zero day” attack methods that have yet to be invented.
For the IP devices in your home or business, installing software updates is a straightforward process. I start up my laptop and once the Windows home screen appears, a box in the corner will often say that there are X number of updates from the laptop manufacturer that need to be installed. Just click the box and the magic happens.
However, it is a drastically different story for field-installed IP cameras, access control and other electronic security equipment. While a dealer might be notified that specific devices need to be updated to protect them from new hacking methods, it often isn’t financially viable for dealers to visit scores of customers to upgrade their devices. Customers won’t want to pay for the service call that’s needed, and dealers cannot afford to do the upgrading for free. The severity of this problem continues to grow daily as more and more IP/internet devices are installed by our industry.
One company is taking a comprehensive and practical approach to the cyber protection of connected IP devices. YourSix Inc. isn’t your average cloud storage video monitoring service. While their service provides many flexible options for remote viewing of live and recorded video from smartphones and PCs, such features can be found in many currently available cloud video service options.
Dealers need to consider how their installed systems will be updated and protected throughout the system’s lifespan, and this is where using YourSix makes a very important difference. Using Axis cameras, installers can connect to the YourSix service with the press of a button after the camera is powered and connected to the local network, provided there’s an internet connection. No port forwarding is required and there is no extra box or device to store video that must be installed on the network.
Once connected, YourSix provides many important features for responsible installation companies. “Health Monitoring” monitors the functions of all cameras and verifies the veracity of the local mini-SD card, which is typically plugged into a camera. YourSix really steps up in the software upgrading of the cameras, automatically installing factory-supplied updates that will help protect the device from hacking, fixing newly found stability issues and adding new features from the factory.
Dealers should be concerned about whether the devices they place on a clients’ IP network such as cameras are vulnerable to newly developed hacking methods. By using the YourSix service, dealers can transmit HD video streams to the cloud, and export locally stored video from SD cards in the event of a temporary internet failure. At $20 per month for 30-day storage the YourSix program is competitively priced and includes critical monitoring and device updating functions.
We don’t want to be installing IP cameras that are potential “time bombs” that might affect client’s devices and their overall network in the future. YourSix is a very easy-to-use service that provides valuable and inexpensive remote IP device monitoring while installing companies can be confident in the protection of the devices being installed when they connect Axis cameras to YourSix.
For more information, please visit yoursix.com. And thanks to my friend Mike King for his assistance with this article.
Dave Engebretson provides fiber optic and IP training through his company Slayton Solutions Ltd. You can check out his training programs at slaytonsolutionsltd.com.