Financial Times Reports on Hikvision Federal Ban and Interviews Identiv CEO Steven Humphreys

Surveillance cameras continue to watch over US military bases

On July 17, 2019, Camilla Hodgson from Financial Times published the article China-made surveillance cameras continue to watch over US military bases, noting that “Hikvision equipment [is] still being used just weeks ahead of a federal ban”. In the article, Identiv CEO Steven Humphreys weighed in on the concern. Here is an excerpt from the story:

Hikvision’s rapid expansion into the US surveillance market began in the 2010s, when it started selling cheap alternatives to devices made by brands such as Axis and Bosch.

By 2016 it had become the second-largest supplier of video surveillance products in the Americas, with 8.5 per cent of the surveillance camera market, up from nothing at the turn of the century, and second only to Axis’s 11 per cent, according to IHS Markit.

Low prices attracted small businesses and local law enforcement, in particular. Former Memphis PD surveillance manager Joseph Patty, who now runs a security consulting business, said the brand became so popular because price was often the “bottom-line factor”.

But cyber security experts say all internet-connected devices, including cameras, can pose a threat to the networks they are connected to if they have security vulnerabilities. They could be used by rogue actors as back doors to sensitive networks: once in, such actors could steal information or shut down entire systems.

Even those with security features are not immune from being breached.

“Any device creates an attack surface — a way into anything it’s connected to,” said Steven Humphreys, chief executive of security company Identiv. For example, a local police department’s network might be connected to larger organisations: “all you need is one [way in] . . . that is why the American government is worrying”.

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