Cutting Edge VMS At SAGE
Cutting Edge VMS At SAGE – How do cutting edge video solutions benefit government today? You’ll find out at SAGE 2022, Realm Hotel Canberra, November 17 (pre-register here).
With Australia’s Security and Government Expo – SAGE – coming up in the next month, the application of video surveillance solutions by government agencies and institutions is a hot topic.
In this article, Nicole Larsen of Nx Witness explores how modern video solutions can benefit today’s governmental institutions by looking through the lens of the newest version of Nx Witness VMS, v5, and the features and capabilities it offers.
In recent years, the use of IP video solutions by governments and civic leaders has become commonplace. Video is less expensive and easier to deploy than ever before, thanks to increases in compute power and decreases in cost.
This same force – cost efficiency of computing – combined with continual advances in neural networking and AI, have led to a new way to use video – to gather data. Camera-based object recognition now makes it possible to not only capture images through time, but to capture descriptions of what is happening in real-time using metadata. Objects, as they are recognized, are assigned trackable attributes.
For example, cameras can now distinguish humans and cameras may be deployed that are able to recognize gender, age, colour and type of clothes, eyeglasses or hats, whether a person is carrying something (a box, a gun), as well as discerning emotional state.
Network Optix remains at the forefront of this shift by continuously evolving Nx Witness VMS – and all ‘Powered by Nx’ products built with Nx Meta – to create better ways for users, developers, and customers to take advantage of emerging technologies. This includes those that allow government institutions to utilize video as a tool for the betterment of the communities they serve, while remaining secure in an age where data breaches are common.
The newest version of Nx Witness VMS and Powered by Nx products, v5, brought about more cyber security, enhanced usability of existing features, and new interactivity features. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the new Nx Advanced Object Search feature and 3 new cyber security measures introduced in v5 as they are most applicable to the use of Nx Witness in video solutions developed for governmental applications.
Advanced Object Search
Deep learning and AI-based object-based video analytics are among the most impactful technologies to emerge in recent years. Video analytic technologies like face, weapon, and vehicle detection have forever changed the way governments use video surveillance. The presence of object recognition technology is only half of the solution, though, as having the means in which to gather and process the respective data is equally as important. That’s why Nx continues to develop better ways for users to optimize their use of these technologies.
In v4 of Nx Witness VMS, Nx created the Nx Metadata SDK and Object-Overlays for the Nx desktop client. The Nx metadata SDK is a tool that allows any object-based video analytic to be integrated with Nx Witness rapidly. Once integrated, objects detected are imported into a special object database and indexed to allow the rapid recall of any associated footage. Additionally, Nx has native support for in-camera analytics from leading manufacturers like Axis, Bosch, DW, Hanwha, Vivotek and more.
In v5, Nx has extended that capability with Nx Advanced Object Search – a new way to quickly and easily search video archives using captured object metadata. Designed as a pop-out window, the new feature allows operators to do 2 things at once – keep an eye on live video AND perform detailed searches of objects using their associated attributes from captured metadata.
This is a fundamentally different approach than most competitive, traditional VMS products. While those solutions often have different processes and user experiences depending on the integrated computer vision/object-based video analytics application, the way that objects are captured, displayed, used to create system automations, and searched is always the same in Nx Witness VMS.
Cyber Security Enhancements
As we have seen in recent years, cyber security threats such as man-in-the-middle attacks and ransomware are becoming increasingly commonplace, with government institutions being among the most targeted victims. Cyber security should be a top priority for governments when putting together their ideal video solution regardless of the project.
Cyber security remains a top priority for Network Optix and is reflected in new cyber security features introduced in v5.
New in v5 is the ability to encrypt recorded video archives so that they can only be viewed in Nx Desktop, Mobile, and Web clients. Video encryption protects the content of recorded video files by making it impossible to play back the files on 3rd party players like VLC.
With the launch of v5, System Administrators now have the ability to define custom encryption keys and enable encryption for all recorded video archives, rendering them safe even in situations where a nefarious ne’er-do-well has physical access to the machine or hard drives where these files reside. When combined with encrypted communications, the archive encryption feature allows organizations to create video systems with end-to-end encryption. All video streams, all archives, and the transport of live and recorded streams can now be protected from a variety of cyberattacks.
* The Encrypted Archives feature for Nx uses 128-bit AES encryption, which uses 10 transformation rounds to encrypt data and is approved by the National Security Agency to protect secret government information.
2 Factor Authentication (2FA)
Another new cyber security feature in Nx v5 is 2-Factor Authentication (aka 2FA). 2FA adds an extra layer of security for users trying to gain access to their systems by requiring a password (aka the “first factor”) + a pin code (aka “the sector factor”) generated by an authentication app in order to verify their identity before logging into a system.
With 2FA, a potential compromise of just one of these factors (password, or access to the authentication app) won’t enable access. Even in the instance a user’s password is stolen or their phone is lost, the chances of someone else having their second-factor information is highly unlikely, creating a more secure login and blunting the opportunity for cyberattacks.
More Secured Connections
Another significant improvement in Nx v5 is the way that connections are secured amongst components of the system (client, server, and cloud connections). Man-in-the-middle attacks are a persistent threat to intelligent video systems, potentially allowing interception of sensitive video and metadata content as it flows throughout a system. In v5, Nx has hardened all communications between system components, rendering MITM attacks impossible.
All internet requests use OS SSL/TLS certificate validation to prevent MITM attacks, including but not limited to updates, on-prem to cloud communications, license validation, statistics reporting, and more.
All server connections use SSL/TLS certificate pinning:
* Servers exchange certificates on merge and validate them on every connection.
* Clients pin certificates on the first connection and validate them on each subsequent connection.
* Clients using cloud connect validate servers through the cloud.
* Clients may use strict mode to limit their connections to only trusted servers.
Servers and clients use new session-based (bearer token) authentication by default. For local users, old authentication is disabled by default, which prevents MD5 password storage in the local DB.
For cloud users, OAuth2 authentication is used by default, which prevents a server owner from compromising a user’s cloud password and renders offline cloud login attacks impossible. Meanwhile, 2-factor authentication may be enabled on the cloud to make OAuth2 authentication even more secure. Many server API calls require a fresh user session to execute, which requires password confirmation at the API level.
Network Optix will be showcasing all the latest Nx Witness v5 features at this year’s SAGE Expo with partner VSP – if you’re interested in learning more about how you can use Nx Witness VMS to create a secure intelligent video solution, pre-register here and we’ll see you there!
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