Owning a Cop Car

A security researcher named Kevin Finisterre managed to tap into the live video feed of a police cruiser camera. He was able to do this because the systems that the police department used were insecure and used protocols such as FTP and telnet. Due to some configuration error no authentication was required and Mr. Finisterre was able to stream live video from the camera of a police cruiser.

The documentation of his audit can be found at http://www.digitalmunition.com/OwningCopCar.pdf

I came across this story a while ago but it is still pretty interesting. Imagine the possibilities.


8 thoughts on “Owning a Cop Car

  1. Yikes thats creepy. The stuff that a police car sees on a live feed could get a lot of people in trouble. That kind of thing can damage reputations! What if you got pulled over for something reaaally embarrasing and someone posted it on youtube. I wonder who would be to blame xD.

      • It’s true that it could be embarrasing, however, although it’s not a live-feed many of these videos have been shown on national television on several different shows, one of them being the reality series COPS. In the end, that’s only the case sometimes, because it’s a live feed that at some point anyone can access it could most certainly lead to problems.

  2. I’m mostly surprised by the fact that a police department didn’t try to secure this device when implementing it. Personally I don’t see this helping me much, but i’m sure criminals could think of a way to use a police cars camera for something. Police need to step up there IT security.

    • Yes law enforcement agencies should have their lesser thought of systems audited like this. I’m sure the main police network at the station has better security but something like a camera on the cruisers doesn’t really make you think it could be insecure.

  3. Their IT department is probably swamped with keeping computers and electronic equipment working, and doesn’t have enough time to think about security (and this is relatively low-priority). Law enforcement agencies across the country are forced to cut costs, so are the tax payers going to want another guy in the IT department or another cop out on the street? Which would you rather pay for (be honest)?

    • Viewing the live feed is not all that Kevin was able to do. He could have deleted the videos, thus erasing the evidence of whatever crime was caught on tape. I would rather pay for a summer intern that could secure this for $10/hr than pay half a dozen cops overtime to stand around at an Amerks game at the War Memorial.

  4. As the cyber crimes start to affect more people (and more police departments), Cyber Security will get more emphasis. The need is probably already there, but it hasn’t affected the public yet (not a problem, so it isn’t a priority). But the demand for IT Security people is growing as evidenced by the growing ISF program at RIT. It is becoming a big industry worry, kind of like Y2K was. Only this worry is going to be around for a lot longer.

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