Chinese Security Camera Ban
It is difficult to definitively state the motives behind the Australian government's recent Chinese camera ban. However, the ban is widely believed to be related to concerns over national security. The ban was implemented in 2018 and expanded in 2020 to cover a wider range of critical infrastructure and locations and they cited security concerns as the reason for banning the use of Chinese-made cameras in certain sensitive locations such as military and government installations.
Some experts argue that the ban is not only about the potential for cyber espionage but also about protecting critical infrastructure from sabotage and disruption. They suggest that the ban is part of a wider effort to reduce Australia's reliance on Chinese technology and ensure that critical infrastructure is secure from all potential threats.
However, there are also concerns that the ban could exacerbate tensions between Australia and China, particularly given the already strained relationship between the two countries. China has responded angrily to the ban, with some officials describing it as a form of "discrimination" and suggesting that it is part of a wider campaign to contain China's rise.
Government agencies take strict measures to ensure the security of their premises, using the best performance solutions for the least cost. In compact applications, like suburban high street offices, basic turret cameras are installed in a star configuration that revolves around a PoE NVR/DVR. These cameras are not usually connected to local data networks and are installed for safety and security purposes.
Interestingly, IP cameras can upgrade firmware automatically over public networks, but this feature can be disabled in CCTV cameras. Security teams are responsible for manual updates, and they work closely with an end user’s security operations team to respond quickly to any issues.
Is the Australian government overlooking the most secure IP surveillance camera on the market? In SEN's view, the Mobotix camera boasts unparalleled cybersecurity credentials and operational flexibility, yet it's rarely used by the government. That said, Bosch, Axis, and iPro are highly regarded, and other tier 1 offerings, including Hikvision and Dahua, have made considerable strides to improve their cybersecurity measures.
Given the heightened concerns around Chinese-made devices, CCTV cameras from China receive the most scrutiny in terms of cybersecurity. However, these static edge sensors are nearly impossible to access remotely when installed on well-designed and secure data networks. The real threat lies in network application errors, the failure to activate cybersecurity settings, and physical weaknesses in network security.
For highly evolved technologies like professional CCTV cameras and intercoms, the likelihood of a sudden breach of network security settings is incredibly low. So, why isn't the Australian government taking advantage of these advances in cybersecurity? Perhaps their reluctance stems from a lack of understanding of this technology and its capabilities.
While no evidence suggests that these Chinese cameras were transmitting video streams to the Chinese government, it was a significant enough concern to warrant the ban. That said, most professional CCTV cameras are installed on secure subnets supported by dedicated switches, servers, and video management systems. And if any unauthorized transmission is detected, network engineers would be alerted immediately.
If you would like a free quote for an Alarm System or Security Cameras for your home or business, contact Geelong Digital Security on 0417 384 787.