Part 2: Hikvision Senior Director of Cybersecurity on Examples of Pharming—A Malicious Hacking Attack—and Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim

July 29, 2020

Hikvision HikWire blog article Chuck Davis pharming cybersecurity part 2

In yesterday’s blog, Hikvision senior director of cybersecurity, Chuck Davis, overviewed pharming, a malicious hacking attack.

As a refresher, pharming is a type of cyberattack that redirects a website’s traffic to a malicious site that appears to be the real site. Pharming is used frequently in phishing attacks to trick a victim into sharing login credentials, banking information, or other sensitive data with the attacker.

Below, we provide examples of pharming attacks to help you identify malicious hackers in advance.

Examples of Pharming
Looking for visual examples of pharming is difficult because shown side-by-side, many real websites and malicious websites will look exactly the same. However, Norton shared a short list of pharming attack examples that I have added below.

  1. Example One: A real-world example of pharming was reported by Symantec in 2008 with the first case of a “drive-by” pharming attack on a Mexican bank. In this case, hackers changed the DNS settings on a customer’s unsecure, home-based broadband router via an email that appeared to be from a legitimate Spanish-language greeting card company. The malicious code in the email changed the user’s router to redirect their web browser to the attacker’s fake, fraudulent bank site.
  2. Example Two: Another example of a more sophisticated pharming attack occurred in 2017, when more than 50 financial institutions found themselves to be the recipients of a pharming attack that exploited a Microsoft vulnerability, creating fraudulent websites that mimicked the bank sites targeted. The victims—online customers in the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific—were lured to a website with malicious code that then downloaded a Trojan along with five files from a Russian server.

Learning about pharming can help you identify and potentially protect yourself against this cyberattack. See below for tips to boost your cybersecurity.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim to Pharming, Ways to Boost Security
Below are several tips that will help you boost cybersecurity:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever it is available. This way if you do get tricked into sharing your credentials, the attacker would not be able to log into your real account.
  • Look for HTTPS in the destination website. While this is not a fool-proof method, seeing a major site using HTTP is a definite red flag these days.
  • Keep your router up to date. If your router doesn’t have automatic updates, consider replacing it with a new router that does update automatically
  • Change the DNS settings on your router and devices to an alternate, encrypted DNS such as Cloudflare's, IBM's, and Google DNS.
  • Follow standard anti-phishing recommendations.

For more Hikvision tips, visit the cybersecurity section of our blog.

IMPORTANT! This model requires non-standard firmware. Do Not Install standard firmware (e.g. v.4.1.xx) on this model. Doing so will permanently damage your system. You must use custom firmware v.4.1.25 from the iDS-9632NXI-I8/16S product page.

View the most updated version of this document here:


The I-series NVR (such as the DS-7716NI-I4) is one of Hikvision's most popular and feature-rich recorders. As such, many firmware revisions have been introduced over the years to continually ensure the product is compatible with the newest technology available. Due to the many revisions, we recommend that the user closely follows the instructions below in order to reduce the amount of time spent as well as the chance of failure.


Database Optimization and Repair

As more affordable IP cameras are introduced over time with greater video resolution and data sizes, more efficient database management also becomes necessary. The introduction of firmware v4.0 brought about a new database architecture in order to be futureproof.


After upgrading to v4.X, the recorder database will need to be converted and optimized. If you are experiencing issues where playback is expected but not found, make sure "Database Repair" is performed as indicated in the procedures and scenarios below.


Preparing the Upgrade

Before proceeding with upgrade, it is recommended that NVR configuration file is exported from the NVR over the network or on to a local USB drive.


Upgrading from v3.4.92 build 170518 or Older

  1. All recorders must reach v3.4.92 before proceeding further. Upgrading from versions before v3.4.92 directly to any version of v4.X will likely cause the recorder to fail.
  2. If the recorder is already at v3.4.92, a full factory default is highly recommended before upgrading to any version of v4.X. There is a high chance of unit failure (requiring RMA) if the unit is not defaulted before upgrade.
  3. After reaching v3.4.92 and performing a full factory default, an upgrade directly to v4.50.00 is acceptable.
  4. After the upgrade is completed and the recorder is reprogrammed, it may be beneficial to perform a Database Repair. For details, refer to the section "Database Optimization and Repair" above.
  5. To verify repair progress, you may refer to the HDD status, or search the recorder log for repair started and stopped entries. Note that while the HDD is repairing, new recordings are still being made, but some existing recordings may not be searchable until repair is complete.
  6. If you continue to observe playback issues after database repair, ensure there are no power, network, or motion detection issues. Should the problem persist, contact technical support.


Upgrading from Any v4.X Build to v4.50.00.

  1. Any v4.X build can be upgraded directly to v4.50.00.
  2. Export configuration is highly recommended before performing the upgrade.
  3. If upgrading from any v4.X version that was not v4.22.005, a Database Repair is recommended. Refer to Step 4 and onwards in the previous section.



Downgrading is not recommended. Due to new features and parameters constantly being added, downgrading may cause the NVR to factory default itself or require a manual default to operate properly.

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