ONVIF, a global standardisation initiative for IP-based physical security products, announced that its Export File Format, the ONVIF specification for the export of video from security surveillance recording platforms, is the new standard recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the exporting and playback of video surveillance recordings.

In a research project commissioned by the FBI to aid law enforcement in forensic investigations, NIST worked in conjunction with ONVIF to adopt the Export File Format to serve as the FBI’s new minimum interoperability requirements for exporting and sharing video clips, streamlining the playback process of video from different video recording platforms from different vendors.

Aid forensic investigation

The ONVIF Export File Format will enable law enforcement as well as private users

These files are often exported in different proprietary formats, making it difficult for law enforcement to collect, correlate, and analyse the video data, as demonstrated by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, where more than 120 FBI analysts reviewed in excess of 13,000 videos before discovering key evidence in the footage. The NIST recommendation is published as NISTIR 8161 revision 1, which replaces revision 0.

The ONVIF Export File Format will enable law enforcement as well as private users to more quickly and efficiently conduct forensic investigations using video of an incident from multiple sources – both private and public – regardless of what recording system originally captured the video.

Export File Format will also be part of new worldwide standards to be published this year by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on the use of video surveillance systems in security applications, increasing the applicability of this standardised format on a global scale.

Technology interoperability

“This is a major step toward harnessing the massive amounts of video evidence, produced by IP-based video surveillance systems, that can be available to law enforcement in the event of a major incident, as well as to any user of a video recording system in need of faster and easier access to multiple video files,” said Per Björkdahl, chairman of the ONVIF steering committee.

The NIST report addresses technical details as the use of MP4 as the standardised file format

“We were very pleased to offer our expertise, specifically from our technical experts Dr. Hans Busch and Stefan Anderson, and have our work toward interoperability be validated in this way by the global standards and law enforcement communities.”

The NIST report addresses technical details as the use of MP4 as the standardised file format and includes support for video codecs H.264 as well as and future variants to ensure video quality. Exported video must contain standardised, UTC clock timestamps that correspond to each video frame, with a recorded export system UTC clock time, with a reliable external reference time that is determined at the time the video is exported.

Exported metadata information

ONVIF is an industry forum driving interoperability for IP-based physical security products

Using the ONVIF Export File Format will also provide useful exported metadata information (e.g. recording equipment used, export file creation time and name of export operator), as well as allow the video file to be digitally signed to ensure the chain of custody for evidentiary purposes.

Founded in 2008, ONVIF is a leading and well-recognised industry forum driving interoperability for IP-based physical security products. The organisation has a global member base of established camera, video management system and access control companies and more than 12,000 profile conformant products.

ONVIF offers Profile S for basic streaming video; Profile G for edge storage and retrieval; Profile C for door control and event management; Profile Q for quick installation, Profile A for access control configuration and Profile T for advanced video streaming. ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutions ONVIF conformant products can provide.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version
  • Related companies
  • ONVIF
  • View all news from
  • ONVIF

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?