Many video surveillance DVRs vulnerable to hacking due to hard-coded root passwords

According to an article by CSO, Digital Video Recorders (DVR’s) made by Zhuhai RaySharp Technology and re-branded by Lorex, Swann, Q-See, and many others apparently contain a hard-coded unchangeable password that can allow anyone full access to your internet connected DVR.    If you have an internet connected DVR it is recommended you contact the manufacturer immediately to see if your DVR model contains this vulnerability. If your model is affected you should update the firmware which includes the security patch (if available) and / or remove it from being accessed from the internet.


Hard-coded password exposes up to 46,000 video surveillance DVRs to hacking

Wide Dynamic Range

What Is Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)?

Dynamic range is the ratio of the maximum signal output of the sensor to the smallest signal output of the sensor. Or, in other words, dynamic range is the ratio of the brightest portion (maximum output) of the image to the darkest portion (smallest output) of the image.

The wide dynamic range (WDR) function of a camera is intended to provide clear images even under back light circumstances where intensity of illumination can vary excessively, namely when there are both very bright and very dark areas simultaneously in the field of view of the camera. WDR enables the capture and display of both bright and dark areas in the same frame, in a way that there are details in both areas, i.e. bright areas are not saturated, and dark areas are not too dark.

In surveillance, WDR allows a camera to filter the intense back light surrounding a subject and thus enhances the ability to distinguish features and shapes on the subject. WDR cameras are usually recommended for situations where light enters a premise from various angles such as a multi-window room. A camera placed on the inside of the room will be able to see through the intense sunlight or artificial light coming in. If an indoor security camera is pointed towards a window or an entrance door, you will see the background washed out during daytime. This is a very common situation in restaurants and stores which have big glass windows.

In a scene with extremely bright and dark areas or in back-light situations where a person is in front of a bright window, a typical camera would produce an image where objects in the dark areas would hardly be visible. Wide dynamic range solves this by applying techniques such as using different exposures for different objects in a scene to enable objects in both bright and dark areas to be visible. Below is an example of a wide dynamic range in action.

Wide Dynamic Range

CCA Cable

Cheap CCA Cables Can Cripple IP Cameras

Due to Increased competition in the video surveillance industry and the rising cost of copper, many installers have turned to Copper Clad Aluminum (CCA) as a way to reduce cost and increase profit margins.  Since the majority of consumers don’t know anything about cable it’s easy for the installer to get away with installing the substandard cable.

What is CCA?

CCA cables are constructed of an inner core which is around 60% to 80% aluminium, with the remaining 20 to 40% composed of a copper cladding surrounding the aluminium. The main reasons why CCA cables are used is the savings in cost and weight (Aluminium costs around a third of copper). CCA cables are NOT compliant with UL and TIA standards, both of which requires solid or stranded copper conductors.


Put simply Copper Clad Aluminum cable is:

  • Not suitable for Power over Ethernet (PoE) due to the resistance
  • Has 40% Higher resistance
  • Has Poor flexibility and can break easily
  • Easily oxidises causing poor terminations in the patch panel and module
  • Not suitable for Power over Ethernet (PoE) due to the resistance

Make sure the company you hire to install your IP security cameras or data network uses solid copper cable only.   If they don’t specify “solid copper” in their quote there is a good chance they are using CCA.    That’s your sign to look for another vendor.


Smart IR

The Benefits of SMART IR (Infrared)

Understanding IR

In order to understand the benefits of SMART IR, it’s helpful to recap how infrared security cameras work.  In most night-time scenarios very little ambient light is available.  Depending on the setting, ambient light can come from sources such as street lamps, building lights, the stars, and the moon.

In order to see at night, IR security cameras use infrared LED arrays to augment the available ambient lighting. The LED arrays convert photons from the ambient light into a light that is visible by the camera imager, making the subject visible but with a light source that produces no visible light.

Benefits of SMART IR

Standard infrared security cameras are well suited for applications where the field of view and focal length are fixed and known. However, customers can make the mistake of purchasing an IR camera that does not fit their application because they do not know the size of their coverage area. For example, installing a camera with an IR range of 150′ when the area under surveillance is 50′ from the camera.

This often leads to either over- or under-illuminated video footage. “Hot spots” (over-IR-exposed scenes) and dark spots (under-IR-exposed scenes) generally occur because users misjudge the strength of the IR array needed for their application.

Smart IR


SMART IR addresses these common challenges with standard IR cameras by taking the guess work out of setting up IR surveillance cameras. They automatically adjust the infrared light required in a scene as the subject moves closer to or further away from the camera, resulting in a clear image that is not washed out or too dark.

Applications that would greatly benefit from SMART IR include high traffic areas where subjects move towards and away from the camera such as:

  • Store fronts
  • Gated access points
  • Home entry and exit points

Most infrared cameras have preset factory settings forcing users to use a predetermined IR range and field of view.

However, some cameras with SMART IR enable users to define, position, size and set their target IR area through an on-screen display and on-board joystick control – saving valuable time and labor costs.

Determine Frames Per Second

How To Determine Frames Per Second (FPS) Settings

The more frames you have available the more fluid your video feeds. This is a good thing, right?  It can be, but there are pros and cons to everything.  If you have an unlimited budget, that’s great!  Crank it up to 30!  For those on a tight budget, this can be the difference between great and a mediocre surveillance system.   If the video you need to retrieve has been overwritten, your system is pretty much useless.

Regardless if we are going with IP or analog security cameras, we can expect to pay a little more for better frame rates.  The higher the FPS, the larger the video files will be, the more storage we will need, and that extra storage will cost money.  What could have been a month’s storage can be cut down to a week or less if you’re not careful.

On the flip side, the lower the frame rate, the choppier the video. The top two frames in the below video shows exactly what to expect with lower FPS.  Naturally, this is not ideal, but it dramatically increases the video retention time. Depending on the application, having a camera set to 8-10 FPS is not only completely acceptable but encouraged.

In addition, the difference visually between 30FPS & 15 FPS is absolutely minimal.  If you put them side by side you can hardly tell the difference.   That’s because your brain interprets anything at or above 15FPS as fluid motion.  Recording at 15FPS gives you fluid video with half the storage requirements of 30FPS.

All that being said, there are situations where higher frame rates are generally required.   License Plate Recognition cameras, POS stations, and entry ways generally need a higher frame rate.    FPS can be sacrificed in other areas to make up the difference if needed.

If you have any questions please contact Viper Solutions at 512-888-9530.

4K HD Video

4K Video in Today’s Video Surveillance Systems

Although 4K video offers surveillance applications several major advantages in terms of video resolution and frame rate, it has a few limitations that may slow down the roll out of the technology for security and surveillance applications.

4K offers four times the resolution of 1080p HDTV. This added resolution can drastically improve identifying an individual, a vehicle’s license plate, or crucial details in the camera’s field of view. However, to support 4K video, several other components must be considered such as network bandwidth, video storage capacity, and viewing stations/monitors. Implementing 4K video in a security camera system will require much more transmission bandwidth, more storage capacity on the recording servers and 4K compliant monitors to view the video.  In many cases implementing 4K video means a complete network upgrade just to support the increased bandwidth.

For most users, putting these pieces together could be challenging. For example even if you have a 4K camera and your network and recording server has the capacity to support it, but your desk top monitor is not 4K, you will not be able to take advantage of 4K higher resolution.

Despite the challenges facing the technology, certain organizations can still benefit from the increased resolution such as law enforcement, banks and gas stations and should not be deterred in exploring this option.