CheckMySystems forms partnership with Mobile CCTV Systems

Mobile CCTV SystemsCheckMySystems and Mobile CCTV Systems are delighted to announce a partnership to provide remote CCTV diagnostic and integrity checking services to multi-vehicle installations.

 

Mobile CCTV Systems specialise in providing vehicle CCTV solutions for Commercial, Emergency Services and Military vehicles.

Speaking of the partnership, Duncan Ross, Managing Director of Mobile CCTV Systems Ltd., comments “Our customers may have many hundreds of CCTV systems in various vehicles over a large geographic area. It is essential to ensure that the CCTV system in each vehicle is operating correctly and hasn’t been tampered with or vandalised, but this is often very difficult to achieve.”

“The CheckMyCCTV solution provides our customers with remote status monitoring and reporting, ensuring that systems which are not operating correctly or are compromised can be rectified in a timely manner, rather than being discovered after a critical incident has occurred which wasn’t captured.”

Darren Rewston, Managing Director of CheckMySystems Ltd. adds “CheckMyCCTV is used to monitor over 6,000 static CCTV installations, and our partnership with Mobile CCTV Systems extends this support to provide diagnostic monitoring CCTV systems in vehicles”

“CCTV systems installed in vehicles operate in a much harsher environment than their static counterparts, and the cameras can be more susceptible to faults, tampering, and vandalism, so it is essential to ensure the integrity of the systems when they are in use. Mobile CCTV Systems have recognised this, and their CheckMyCCTV solution offers real peace-of-mind to their customers”

For more information about the CheckMyCCTV service from Mobile CCTV Systems Ltd., contact
+44 (0) 118 927 2137 or email info@nullmobilecctvsystems.co.uk

Visit Mobile CCTV Systems at www.mobilecctvsystems.co.uk 

For more information about CheckMyCCTV, contact +44 (0) 161 8706137 or email info@nullcheckmysystems.com

Is your CCTV vulnerable to a network attack?

Connecting CCTV systems to the Internet is very common these days, it gives the user the ability to view and control their CCTV systems remotely.

However, we have found that a high proportion of internet connected systems are vulnerable to attack, either pre-meditated, or using automated ‘bots’.

Such attacks can render a CCTV system useless by either corrupting or deleting the settings, deleting video recordings, or preventing access to the device (Denial of Service attack). They can also be used to cause damage to other devices that are connected to the CCTV system.

In this blog I will highlight some potential vulnerabilities, and give you 5 simple steps to reduce the chances of your CCTV systems being attacked.

Why are Internet connected CCTV systems attacked?

It is unlikely that a hacker or bot wants to attack your CCTV system at all, they are more likely looking for web servers or file servers that they can gain access to.

Unfortunately, modern IP connected CCTV systems often have web servers and file servers built into them which are used to configure the system using web pages, display video images, or download archived video footage.

So even though your CCTV system may not be a prime target for a bot, it can still do some serious damage to your system if they can gain access to it.

How are Internet connected CCTV systems vulnerable?

There are many reasons why a CCTV system may be vulnerable to an attack. The most common being:

  1. The device responds to Ping requests.
  2. It’s using common IP socket ports such as port 80 (HTTP), port 21 (FTP), and port 23 (Telnet), or the default ports.
  3. A low strength password is being used, or the password has not been changed from the manufacturer’s default.
  4. The system is open to connection from any source.
  5. There are vulnerabilities within the DVR software/firmware.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the most common reasons why internet connected CCTV systems are vulnerable.

How do I make my Internet connected CCTV systems less vulnerable?

In the first instance, it is worth addressing each of the points above to see if there are immediate issues which can be resolved:

  • Ensure the CCTV system does not respond to Ping requests – Ping is a method used to detect whether an IP device is connected online. If the DVR (or the router it is connected to) responds to Ping requests, it may alert potential attackers that a device  is available to attack. Turn off Ping response in the Router and DVR to prevent this from happening.
  • Change the IP port that is used to access the unit over the Internet –  If the DVR is using port 80, 21, or 23, see if these can be changed on the DVR itself. If that is not possible, change the router settings to use Port Forwarding, so that traffic on a specific incoming port number will be forwarded to the correct port of the DVR on the network. For example, you could forward any traffic on port 3080 to the DVR on port 80, so any external connection to the IP address on port 3080 will get through, but connections to port 80 will not. You can find out more about Port Forwarding HERE
  • Change the password on the CCTV System– ALWAYS change the manufacturer’s default password. Also, have a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and digits to strengthen the password, for example “A$kMe” is much stronger than “askme”. You can check your password strength HERE
  • Configure your router’s Firewall – Do you really want to allow anybody on the Internet to have access to your CCTV system? The firewall within your router will allow you to limit access to your CCTV to certain IP address ranges or MAC addresses.
  • Ensure that the firmware on the CCTV System is up to date – Manufacturers may address any security or vulnerability issues with newer firmware, always ensure you have the latest firmware to ensure that you have added protection.

There are other methods of increasing security of your Internet connected CCTV systems which are way beyond the remit of this blog, but by implementing these five simple steps, you can reduce the chances of your CCTV system being attacked.

One thing to remember is that a CCTV system is basically a PC, they may not look or operate like one, but underneath they will be running an operating system which may well be Windows or Linux based, meaning that they are vulnerable to the same sorts of threats as desktop PCs.

It’s worth bearing in mind the next time you put one of your customers’ CCTV systems online.

Are your CCTV systems being tampered with?

CCTV TamperingWe have had increased number enquiries from customers who suspect their CCTV systems have or are being tampered with or vandalised to prevent the detection of criminal activity.

CheckMyCCTV is designed to ensure CCTV systems are operational 24/7, but in many cases it can also detect if the system has been tampered with using the same checks.

Typical ways a CCTV system may be tampered with include:

  • Disconnecting a camera.
  • Unplugging the CCTV from the network.
  • Moving or obscuring a camera.
  • Switching off the system.
  • Changing the time/date on the CCTV system.
  • Switching off or deleting the recording.

Each of these anomalies can be checked automatically using CheckMyCCTV every hour of every day, allowing users to remotely detect whether a CCTV system has been tampered with or developed fault.

Customers who manage or maintain remote multi-site CCTV systems will benefit from CheckMyCCTV tamper detection monitoring to ensure their systems are operating as expected.

CCTV systems are often only checked or maintained once a year, giving the perpetrators ample opportunity to render the CCTV system useless by switching it off, moving the cameras, or otherwise tampering with the system.

Let CheckMyCCTV perform daily tamper checks on all your remote CCTV systems and alert you to suspected tampering activity or faults.

If you would like to discuss how CheckMyCCTV can ensure your systems are operational 24/7, please contact us on 0161 870 6137 or email info@nullcheckmysystems.com

 

Cut the cost of remote CCTV maintenance

CheckMyCCTV Maintenance Over the last 30 or so years, CCTV maintenance contracts have barely changed. Usually consisting of One or Two scheduled ‘pre-emptive’ maintenance visits a year to check that the system is working correctly.

In the era of tape based CCTV recording, scheduled maintenance was required to maintain the quality of recordings as the tapes and VCR heads became worn over time, but with digital CCTV systems this is not the case.

Pro-active not Pre-emptive

With modern Digital CCTV systems, there is no gradual degradation of recording quality between maintenance visits. CheckMyCCTV can monitor network connected CCTV systems for faults and recording issues, allowing maintenance visits to be targeted towards sites that actually need them.

Scheduled maintenance visits only ensure that your customers’ CCTV systems are working on the day of the visit, or two for bi-annual maintenance, but what about the other 363 days of the year when there’s no engineer on site?

Remotely Monitored Fault Reporting

CheckMyCCTV changes the way CCTV maintenance visits can be conducted. By automatically providing  Remotely Monitored Fault Reporting your customers are getting a maintenance package which is suited to the Digital era.

The benefits of remotely monitoring your customers’ CCTV systems for faults include:

  1. Peace of mind that your customers’ installations are working 365 days of the year.
  2. Immediate notification of fault conditions, often before the customers are aware of them.
  3. Proactive approach to customer service, rather than expecting your customers to detect issues.
  4. Increased efficiency of maintenance contracts – Pay As You Go and reduced visits to provide you and your customers with a ‘best value’ proposition.
  5. Reduced Costs of site visits by taking service engineers off the road, reducing fuel and labour costs, and improving the first visit fix rate.

A typical installer with 100 remote sites can save more than 30% of their Labour and Fuel costs by replacing two scheduled site visits with a single scheduled site visit and an emergency site visit triggered by CheckMyCCTV.

Pay As You Go Maintenance contracts

Current Pay As You Go maintenance contracts require the customer to detect faults and report them to the installer, in reality customers only tend to discover faults when they require footage from the CCTV system which is often not available. At this point, the damage is already done, the system you installed and maintain did not work and whether it is your fault or not, it is the your name and reputation that are tarnished.

By implementing CheckMyCCTV, faults are detected as soon as they happen, allowing you to pro-actively contact your customer to advise and arrange a site visit.

The next time you get a call from your customers to report a fault with their CCTV system, think how much better it would have been if it were you telling them that you have found a fault and you’re sending someone to fix it.

It’s time to drag maintenance contracts into the digital era, provide your customers with a better service for less with CheckMyCCTV. Contact Us for a FREE Trial to see how.

 

 

CheckMySystems launches Referral Scheme

Know a business who may want to use CheckMyCCTV? Refer another business to us, and you’ll receive £2.50 for every license they purchase in the first 12 months –  up to a maximum of £1,000 per referred customer. All you need to do is complete a simple contact form and we’ll do the rest.

Please ensure that the business is aware that you are referring them, you will only receive the referral fee if they acknowledge that you referred them.

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New Feature: Camera Tamper Detection

CheckMyCCTV Camera Tamper Detection launched

A CCTV system is only as good as the images it is recording. So if your cameras have been tampered with, your CCTV system may be as good as useless if the cameras are not recording the intended target area.

The problem is, how do you know when they have been moved? If the cameras are tampered with the system would carry on recording and the user would be blissfully unaware that their CCTV system is severely compromised. A manual check could be done, but this would be a hugely time consuming exercise comparing a ‘reference’ image against the current image.

CheckMyCCTV already monitors for camera faults, but it now goes one step further and monitors for camera tampering.

How does it work?

The Camera Tamper Detection function in CheckMyCCTV works by taking snapshots from each camera every day at user defined times (usually one during the day, and one at night). These are analysed and compared with images from the previous day, if the new image changes its view by more than user defined threshold, an alert is generated.

Camera Tamper Detection is a semi-automatic check, meaning that although CheckMyCCTV will generate an alert when the image has changes above a certain threshold. It is designed to augment manual camera checks, giving the operator an indication that a camera may need to be investigated further.

What can it detect?

Using the Camera Tamper Detection feature, CheckMyCCTV can now monitor and report when cameras are moved, obscured, covered, or sprayed, using existing network connected CCTV recorders without having to purchase additional equipment.

A typical application for Camera Tamper Detection could be in a shop or retail environment, where cameras are trained on the Till areas, or at entrance/exit doorways of buildings. An alert would be triggered if these important cameras are moved or obscured.

We’re not going to claim that camera tamper detection is 100% accurate, it is designed as an automated ‘first pass’ to give the operator a means of quickly checking whether reported cameras have indeed been tampered with.

 

Check your multi-site CCTV installations today

CheckMyCCTV is ideal for monitoring the operation and status of your multi-site installations, especially when sites are located over large geographic areas, are unmanned, or you just need the reassurance that your CCTV systems are working.

It is often difficult to know at any point in time whether your sites are operational, checking manually can be time consuming, repetitive and often inaccurate, especially if there are 10’s or 100’s of sites to check.

CheckMyCCTV not only checks the health of your entire CCTV estate, but also that your sites are configured and operating correctly. Typical operational checks include:

  • Checking that the alarms are operational.
  • Ensuring the site operator is arming/disarming the site.
  • Ensuring that alarms are being monitored by the RVRC,
  • Checking that the system is recording for the required duration, and
  • Checking that the Time and Date of the recordings are accurate.

CheckMyCCTV’s easy to use interface will always keep you up to date with the status of all your sites, no matter where they are.

CheckMyCCTV offers an incredible value proposition for peace of mind – typically less than 1% of the cost of your CCTV installation to monitor your site for a year.

Contact us for a quote or to sign up for a free 14-day trial.


New Release: CheckMyCCTV version 1.1.3

CheckMyCCTV version 1.1.3 is now available to download. This version fixes a few minor issues we had found or reported by customers using feedback@nullcheckmysystems.com. Current users can update their software by clicking Help > Check for updates and follow on-screen instructions.

Note: The Updates pop-up box is sometimes hidden behind the CheckMyCCTV screen, you can see it by minimising CheckMyCCTV. This issue is also fixed in version 1.1.3.

Improvements include:

  • Pop-up windows are no longer obscured when the map is displayed.
  • Improved the methods of detecting false readings from the DVR.
  • The Ping bar can now be hidden if the Ping function is not used.
  • The Unit Summary information can be re-read manually by clicking the ‘Refresh Unit Summary’ button rather than an automatic daily update. Useful if a unit has been replaced or modified.
  • The ‘Reset’ button in the Map now sets the marker back to the default location when no location has been set previously.
  • Added 72h threshold limit to the Text Recording test.
  • Fixed an intermittent issue when a site is renamed and a new tab is immediately selected causing an ‘Object Not Found’ Error
  • Fixed issue which occurs when a site is renamed, the view now displays the renamed site rather than the global view.
  • Fixed intermittent display issue when changing sites in the tree, sometimes the tabs on the Site Information page show the previous sites results.
  • Fixed an issue where the Software Update pop-up box is hidden behind the software.

We recommend that this update is applied to all existing installations.

Can you check your CCTV in under 20 seconds?

You can with CheckMyCCTV! The latest updates to the test engine now make it possible to comprehensively check your Dedicated Micros CCTV system and cameras in under 20 seconds*.

As an installer or RVRC, your customers may expect (or demand) that you regularly check their CCTV system. CheckMyCCTV is a simple and most cost effective way to ensure that your customers sites and your reputation remain in good health.

CheckMyCCTV automatically and autonomously checks many aspects of the CCTV system and gives you a status report in less than 20 seconds. If you had the time, patience, and persistence, you could (probably) manually perform all the tests that CheckMyCCTV does.

If you want to give it a try, here’s the tests you’d have to perform……on your marks….get set……GO!

  • Check that you can connect to the DVR.
  • Check that the time and date is correct.
  • Check that all the cameras are working.
  • Check that the unit is recording. (Are you sure it’s recording?)
  • Check that the hard disks are working.
  • Test the network bandwidth of the DVR. (Are you losing the will to live now?)
  • Take a daily configuration backup from the DVR.
  • Check that the DVR is actioning alarms. (Are we nearly there yet?)
  • Check that the DVR is connecting to a central station on alarm, etc etc.

I think you get the picture. In all there are up to 22 individual checks that CheckMyCCTV performs on every unit, every hour of every day.

So, do you really have time to check your CCTV systems manually? Find out how much time and resource CheckMyCCTV can save you, contact us today for a FREE 14-day trial.

 

* Tests conducted on a standard BT Broadband connection at 6Mb/s download and 330Kb/s upload using a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 PC.