Coming Soon to a Movie Plot Near You…

The problem with most video surveillance is that it is not actively monitored. It is recorded so that events can be reconstructed at a later date. While this may prove to be an effective deterrent in many situations, this does limit the effectiveness (and the cost of operation) of the surveillance system.

Of course, a major problem with that approach is that the “persons of interest” are long gone by the time the video shows that “yep, you can definitely see some guy cutting off that lock and stealing that…”.

Another problem is that unless the equipment is being checked on a regular basis, it may be defeated (or just broken) for a long time before any problems are identified.

In the photo to the right, an NYC artist William Lamson, has created an interesting photo of hacking (or blocking) a security camera with a helium balloon. This is such a simple and inexpensive attack on the video surveillance camera that I am shocked I haven’t seen this before. I am also certain that the appearance of this in a TV or movie plot is imminent. It would have been pretty simple to use two balloons to block the camera without providing the nice tether to “fix” the problem.

Digital photography is a hobby of mine, and I have a mild obsession for photographing physical security faux pas (which to date has not resulted in any ‘Imperial Entanglements’ 😉 ). So I am going to use Mr. Lamson’s photo to kick off a new category (and series) on Art of Information Security, called “Security faux pas” – stay tuned…

Cheers, Erik

3 thoughts on “Coming Soon to a Movie Plot Near You…

  1. Kevin Frey

    Interesting stuff Erik! It’s been an incredibly LONG time since I talked to you, so I figured why not comment on a post to start off the conversation ;0). The balloon hack is a great one. They need to build a little arm that comes out of the camera and punches impediments as to clear the line of sight. That would be an even better hack. Then of course the other side invents the balloon that responds to the arm punch. And then….well you get the idea. Its always so hard to stay ahead of those clever criminals.

    Good stuff though.

  2. Mark Long

    If I wanted to disable a security camera, a paintball marker would be my first choice. It isn’t that loud, has a good range, is easily available and leaves no useful forensics in case of a failure.

    You would need to get near to use a balloon.

    Mark Long, Digital Looking Glass.

  3. Mike Brown

    I like it!
    Building on Kevin’s thoughts, what about a fan attachment which would blow the balloon around.
    The blades on such a fan could be sharpened to deter physical interference with the fan. . .

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