Police body cameras acquired from Martel Electronics have been found to be infected with the notorious Conficker worm.
Martel Electronics, a company based in Yorba Linda, California, specializes in video systems used by law enforcement, including in-car and body cameras used by police in the United States.
Florida-based IT services provider iPower Technologies has been working on developing a cloud-based system for police departments and government agencies to store and manage video from their cameras. While analyzing the Martel Frontline Camera, a body cam designed for police departments, iPower discovered that the devices acquired by the company for testing had been infected with a variant of Conficker, a threat also known as Downup, Downadup and Kido.
The company’s tests showed that a functional version of Conficker had been shipped with multiple cameras. Once the cameras were connected to a computer, the malware attempted to spread to other machines on the network and communicate with a command and control (C&C) server.
iPower uploaded a sample of the worm to VirusTotal, which shows that most antivirus products detect the threat based on its signature.
The computer services company said it attempted to contact Martel via phone and email last week, but it hasn’t received a response so it decided to make its findings public.
“This discovery has a huge impact, as these devices are being shipped every day to our law enforcement agencies,” said Jarrett Pavao, president of iPower.
Martel Electronics has not responded to SecurityWeek’s request for comment by the time of publication.
Conficker, first spotted by the security community in November 2008, has infected millions of computers in hundreds of countries, being one of the largest botnets ever seen. Shortly after the threat emerged, Microsoft rushed to patch a Windows vulnerability exploited by the worm to spread, but many users failed to apply the update and the malware authors continued to improve their creation with new spreading mechanisms.
Academic researchers, Microsoft, domain registries and security firms teamed up in early 2009 to create the Conficker Working Group, an initiative whose goal was to disrupt the threat.
Despite the group’s clean-up efforts, Conficker is seen in the wild even today. In its threat report for the first half of 2014, F-Secure reported that the malware had been at the top of the infections chart, being particularly prevalent in the Middle East, South America and Asia.
Six years after the Conficker botnet was sinkholed, experts estimate that there are still nearly one million infected machines. Researchers told SecurityWeek in June that Conficker variants had been spotted in the networks of energy organizations in the United States, China and Korea.