Check Point made a decision to use the Canon EOS 80D for its tests as the device has both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity along with an active modding community that develops open source software for the camera.
Security vulnerabilities in popular internet-connected digital cameras could allow hackers to infect them with ransomware, rendering the devices useless, or deploy other forms of malware which could potentially turn a camera into a gateway for infecting larger networks.
Since modern cameras no longer use film to capture and reproduce images, the International Imaging Industry Association has set up a protocol known as Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), which is a standardized set of rules used by camera manufacturers that enables the transfer of digital images from camera to PC.
Still, security researchers at Check Point have at least managed to play with the formula a little, and have discovered a way of making a Canon EOS 80D hold an owner's photographs to ransom, with the demand for cash displayed on the device's 3in TFT screen. As you can see in the demo video above, the company was able to take full control of a Canon 80D using either a USB or WiFi connection. "Critical vulnerabilities in the PTP were found", Check Point said in a statement on Sunday, detailing the study. But while this particular model was chosen for the experiment, researchers warn that any internet-connected digital camera could be vulnerable to the attacks. Researchers have discovered that the devices can be infected with ransomware, encrypting users' photos and videos until they pay for a decryption key. Canon has since issued a new security patch for the affected cameras, which owners can read about here. Instead, the researchers contacted Canon about the vulnerability back in late March, well ahead of the Def Con reveal, allowing the company to release a firmware update for the 80D last week. Since then, they've worked together with Canon to patch the vulnerabilities that were found, which is why these findings were released alongside an official Security Advisory from Canon itself.
"At this point, there have been no confirmed cases of these vulnerabilities being exploited to cause harm, but in order to ensure that our customers can use our products securely, we would like to inform you of the following workarounds for this issue".