Debate about security aspects of Chinese products is politically motivated

This commentary by Erik Rajamäe, Director of BK Eesti AS, was published in October 2018. It is still relevant in 2019. Hikvision products have been certified in the USA as meeting the most stringent standards.

Device default passwords must be changed in order to configure cameras, and proper security protection of the entire computer network, not the camera, is the crucial factor.

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Political step in the US-China trade war

The US government has imposed severe sanctions on Chinese producers. On 10 July 2018 the US approved additional import tariffs of $ 200 billion for China. Along with this, the US government published a notice stating that it is forbidding government institutions to use Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision and Dahua equipment. This decision of the Government of the United States was not based on evidence of security risks, analysis or studies.

Hikvision has a certificate showing its products comply with one of the most recognised security standards in the world: the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 certificate. This is the US government’s computer security standard used to validate encrypted modules and it was issued by The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to coordinate encrypted module requirements and standards that include both hardware and software components. The same certificate has also been granted to Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Google for example.

On the one hand, this shows that the US government applies the highest encryption standards to Hikvision – and that Hikvision meets these standards. On the other hand, Donald Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), where he prohibits the use of Hikvision in US state institutions.

According to all of our current information, this is a political step that strengthens the position of the United States in the US-China trade war.

Security is created by setting up the network correctly

With the Hikvision video surveillance system, network setup and security is crucial. It is very important to set up network devices correctly and securely, whether at home or in business premises.

You must also configure the Hikvision devices and never use default passwords when installing products. In the case of Hikvision devices, they cannot be activated unless the passwords are changed. Passwords need to be updated from time to time. But just changing the passwords is not enough, you need to set up network protection and this will help protect your other computers and devices too. If the client requires the highest level of security, we recommend using a closed-loop video solution where the entire video surveillance system is not connected to the Internet. Questions about this subject are asked most often by private customers. Professional customers know how computer networks and systems work and what configuration to do for network devices, they have no questions about this type of problem.

For Hikvision, device security is a high priority. It is certain that no third party, including the manufacturer, can access their equipment. Hikvision always uses the highest standards for security and encryption. Hikvision never participates directly in national projects.

As mentioned above, professional network installation companies know how to configure a secure network. Security begins with the computer network, not with Hikvision. If you have something valuable at home and someone wants to steal it, they must first open the door and then they can do something else. With video surveillance systems the situation is exactly the same: if your computer network is properly protected and built with a competent firewall, then you do not have to worry about the devices on the network. In good network devices all network traffic is visible because it leaves a record. Any network administrator would immediately see if there was any inappropriate network traffic on the network and could identify the cause and block it as needed.

Always use the help of professional network administrators. If you procure video equipment for yourself always get the original equipment with the original software by buying the products directly from authorized dealers and installers.  Get authorized installers to install the equipment.

We firmly believe that the focus on Chinese-made products is entirely political, to scare people and allow someone to achieve their political goals.

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