Security Digest

Using Thin Client with third-party VMS

December 11, 2018Thin Client box on wall

Did you know that the Senstar Thin Client can stream live video from ONVIF and RTSP compliant sources, including third-party video management software (VMS) like Milestone® XProtect® and Lenel® Prism®?

One common use of Thin Client is to extend a site’s existing security surveillance system by adding additional viewer screens. For example, to deter potential criminal activity, an organization may want to display live video on a screen in a public area to show visitors they are under surveillance. The Thin Client, with its small form factor and maintenance-free operation, can be installed directly on the back the monitor, safe and secure with no visible cables.

Another use is to leverage the surveillance system for non-security applications. For example, it may be useful to see a live stream of activity going on in another part of the building, such as customers waiting for service or to ensure visitors are promptly greeted at reception. One customer even used Thin Client to decorate their below-ground public archives with “virtual windows” to the outside!

Watch our instructional videos and see how easy it is to use Thin Client.

Limiting light pollution from physical security applications

December 4, 2018

As any security professional knows, outdoor lighting is an easy and effective first step to deterring theft and vandalism. However, most traditional outdoor lighting options generate light pollution, which is a significant and legitimate environmental concern, especially in residential areas.

The Senstar LM100™ hybrid perimeter intrusion detection and intelligent lighting system is helping to address this issue. Its engineered lighting minimizes light pollution by targeting the light in a downwards trajectory that illuminates only the fence line. It can also be programmed to shine at different intensities, for example, it can run at 30% intensity and switch to 100% (and strobe, if desired) when a perimeter intrusion is detected. As well, its power-efficient LED technology uses 95% less power than traditional security lighting systems.

As a testament to its environmental friendliness, the Senstar LM100 recently received the Fixture Seal of Approval (FSA) from the International Dark Skies Association (IDA). IDA is the recognized authority on light pollution. Its mission is to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and the heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. To help accomplish this, IDA developed the FSA program to provide objective, third-party certification for lighting that minimizes glare, reduces light trespass and doesn’t pollute the night sky.

Senstar is pleased to be recognized by the IDA for its efforts to protect the night skies for present and future generations.

Senstar resources for helping to protect electrical utility sites

November 27, 2018

Energy sites are constantly at risk of vandalism and theft. There is also the added concern of liability associated with trespassing, as well as increasing government regulations.

Senstar’s solutions for physical security – perimeter intrusion detection and video management – can help site operators protect their sites from potential threats and vulnerabilities, and comply with NERC CIP-014 regulations. To understand how, Senstar has developed the following resources:

Senstar is currently protecting hundreds of electrical sites worldwide. Read a case study about how our FlexZone® ranging fence-mounted intrusion detection system is securing sites for a major US electrical utility company. Click here.

Take the Senstar VMS Challenge

November 20, 2018

Senstar Symphony delivers an all-in-one solution for video management, video analytics including face and license plate recognition, perimeter intrusion detection, and alarm management.

The system is easy to install, simple to use, highly scalable and supports cameras from all major manufacturers.

See for yourself.  

Adding viewing stations to the Symphony VMS 

November 13, 2018

Did you know that the Symphony VMS doesn't require individual licenses for each viewing station or display client? You can add as many clients as you like to address your organization's needs. 

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An easy way to add clients is to use Senstar Thin Client. An alternative to PCs, the Thin Client is a compact, maintenance-free, and easy-to-use video display appliance. It doesn't run Windows, it doesn't need software or anti-virus updates, and users don't require full operator client training. 

 When deployed alongside the Symphony VMS, the Thin Client can: 

  • View live and recorded video 
  • Display up to 16 video streams on-screen at one time 
  • Use customizable layouts and carousels 
  • Export recorded video to USB or network devices 
  • Drive a video wall display 

Watch our instructional videos and see how easy it is to use the Thin Client with Symphony.

Connecting the Thin Client to the Symphony VMS

Controlling the Thin Client from the Symphony VMS
(Video Wall)

Keep staff safe in high threat environments

November 6, 2018

The Flare Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) keeps staff and visitors safe by instantly identifying and locating personal duress alarms at the touch of a button.

The original belt-worn Personal Protection Device, or PPD, is a robust, belt-holster device specifically designed for frontline correctional workers. The new PPD Compact provides a smaller, more versatile option for support and administrative staff, as well as visitors, in institutional environments. It can be worn in a variety of ways, including on a lanyard.

Personal Protection Device (PPD)

PPD Compact

Designed for reliability in institutional and industrial environments, Flare uses proven, cost-effective technology that has been keeping staff safe for over 20 years.

In the event of danger, the individual activates the PPD which emits an RF signal that is detected by a network of sensor units concealed throughout the building. Flare immediately locates indoor emergency alarms and displays the location, status, and identity of the PPD on a map-based display in the control room.

Learn more here and watch the video below.

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The IoT Zombie Survival Guide

October 30, 2018

This Halloween, the risk of being spooked and possibly thrilled by hordes of zombies appearing in your neighborhoods and TV screens is very high. One night of the living dead may be entertaining but the threat of zombies infecting your video surveillance system the other 364 days is not. While a perimeter intrusion detection system can provide protection against the walking dead, IT security needs a different approach to protect network cameras from Internet of Things (IoT) malware and botnet herds of zombie devices.  

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Mirai, a strain of malware that infects Linux-based network devices, rose from underground in September 2016. Slightly more than 28 days later, Mirai was infecting network cameras and routers across the internet and disabling systems via Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. Some of the Internet’s most popular websites were taken offline, including Github, Twitter, Reddit, Netflix and AirBnB.

The creators of Mirai were eventually caught and are now cooperating with the FBI to prevent further outbreaks. Unfortunately, Mirai-like malware continues to propagate, with re-animated versions like Torii becoming a resident evil in an ever-connected IoT world.

Why Target Network Cameras? 

Why are network cameras being infected? Because they exist in large numbers and are easy targets. They may use factory-default login credentials, fail to implement user lockout, and use software with known exploits. To make matters worse, some manufacturers are slow-moving to issue firmware updates (if at all) while organizations face logistical challenges when managing large, often geographically disperse, deployments with hundreds if not thousands of cameras. 
Unlike physical zombie bites, malware-infected devices may go unnoticed. Common symptoms include an increased appetite for bandwidth, memory and CPU usage. The cameras may continue to operate, with the operators only noticing a sluggish response, especially if on-camera video analytics are running. The real concern, however, is that the camera is "rooted". The botnet owner has complete control and can change admin passwords, power it off, re-configure it, or use it as a staging point against other internal systems. 

Prevention and Protection and Zombies 

Ideally a firewall provides protection from external threats. Be aware however that firewalls can be complex to configure and maintain. In addition, configuration settings like enabling UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) or insecure cloud-based video streaming may undermine your security. 


Quarantined air-gapped closed networks are certainly an option to avoid infection – a physically isolated network should be immune to Internet-based attacks. Unfortunately, this security comes at a price, as remote monitoring, administration, and troubleshooting are not possible.  

A segregated approach makes it more complicated to take advantage of Internet-based services and utilities that you may need to keep your infrastructure current and secure. Software and firmware updates are two examples. For these reasons, many would prefer to have their surveillance network be accessible over the Internet – so long as connections can be secured and restricted to legitimate uses. Logically segmenting the network using Virtual LANs (VLANs) and Access Control Lists (ACLs) is another popular option.

Rules for Surviving IoT Zombieland 

  • Here's the top 5 ways to protect your video surveillance network and prevent cameras from being zombied: 
  • Be informed – When purchasing cameras, check the record of the manufacturer in terms of publishing firmware updates as well as their support offerings.  
  • Change default passwords – While many manufacturers force you to change the password upon initial configuration, some don't. Never deploy a device using the default passwords.  
  • Update firmware – Older camera firmware versions will generally contain more vulnerabilities. When camera vendors address vulnerabilities, they do so through firmware updates.  
  • Be proactive – Perform a vulnerability assessment of your deployment and create a security plan. Limit access to only those systems and people that require it, and ensure that all firewall rules are carefully reviewed.  
  • Be prepared – Cybersecurity, like video surveillance and physical security, requires constant vigilance. It is impossible to take action on events that remain unknown. For this reason, cybersecurity events need to be continuously monitored, either from individual consoles or through event aggregation technologies. 

In Search of a Cure 

In an ever-mutating world of IoT infections, there is no cure in sight. However, security is a process, one that can be streamlined with best practices and innovative tools. Senstar can help!  


The Senstar Enterprise Manager streamlines video surveillance-related IT operations by offering unified health monitoring, configuration management, and automatic firmware updates. Quickly identify offline cameras, storage failures, and CPU and memory threshold violations with an intuitive web-based console and email status summaries. Reduce risk with automated camera password updates, and increase compliance with the ability to explicitly define settings, which cannot be changed locally.

For More Information 

For information on surviving an actual zombie outbreak, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) website. 

For information on protecting surveillance cameras from malware, download our free ebook, Physical Security and the Internet of Things: A Cybersecurity Guide.

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Display video from ONVIF-compliant network cameras without a PC

October 23, 2018

Did you know Senstar’s Thin Client can display video directly from any ONVIF or RTSP-compliant source, including network cameras, video encoders, or video management software?

An alternative to cumbersome PCs, the Thin Client is a compact, maintenance-free, and easy-to-use video display appliance. It can show up to 16 video streams on-screen at one time and supports customizable layouts and carousels.  

Watch our instructional video Connecting the Thin Client Directly to Network Cameras to see how quick and easy it really is. 

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