7 Best Practices for AV-over-IP Security

Following best practices can help you ensure the ongoing security of your network and data. Here are seven best practices for securing your AV-over-IP network:

  • Educate Your Employees. Your employees can use your network equipment incorrectly and cause major downtime, outages, or damage. Or worse, they can plug malicious devices into network equipment via USB, RJ-45, or other common interfaces to hack the system or steal data. The most important step you can take to stop your staff from disrupting or ruining network equipment is educating them on how to use all of it. To prevent internal hacking or other harmful activities, ensure each user is given a specific level of access to the system.

  • Encrypt Data and Limit Physical Ports. To further protect your network, you should encrypt all of your data (TLS/SSL), limit physical ports (via management platform, e.g., limited access to USB, or via hardware), and back-rack critical equipment (AV/KVM extension).

  • Secure Your Devices. Ensure your devices are properly locked down with no open ports — such as VNC, SSH, TeamViewer, or internal services — that could be exploited by hackers. If your vendor announces a vulnerability, make sure your devices are patched as soon as possible. Hackers may have access to the same CVE mailing lists that vendors use to announce vulnerabilities, so act quickly.

  • Use Secure Credentials. Be sure to replace all default credentials on your devices with secure logins and passwords. Many security breaches occur because “12345” is an easy password to hack. Strong passwords should have at least eight characters, including numerals, punctuation marks, and a combination of upper and lowercase letters. Plan to change your passwords often, perhaps every 30 days.

    For additional security, use two-step authentication. For example, you can require a user to log in with a username and password as well as a code sent to their mobile device.

  • Segment Your Network. For critical applications, such as airport passenger information displays or control room displays, a dedicated AV network adds extra security and minimizes disruption in the event of an attack. Adding out-of-band (OOB) management capabilities ensures you have access to reconfigure, reboot, and reimage the system remotely even if the primary data network is down. A separate power source for your network segments is also a good idea. For example, if your digital signage is hacked, you can shut it down without impacting the rest of your network.

    Establishing a software-based site-to-site virtual private network, or VPN, is one of the best ways to ensure AV-over-IP security while maintaining flexibility and functionality. A site-to-site VPN enables you to securely display content on potentially thousands of displays from a single location. VPNs use a combination of dedicated connections and encryption protocols to ensure security. Even if your login credentials are compromised, a hacker cannot get to the content management system to use them.

  • Customize Your Approach. A customized approach will ensure you have the right security in place for your particular application. For example, a sports bar’s television screens likely require fewer security considerations than a government intelligence facility. You should also determine whether remote management is truly required. Limiting access to your network automatically improves your security.

  • Proactively Monitor for Threats. New threats emerge daily, so staying proactive is essential to your network security. Deep package inspection and an intrusion detection system can help you identify unusual traffic and patterns on your AV-over-IP networks. Black Box’s Boxilla® KVM Manager features enterprise management with enhanced authentication, access control, and accounting for secure communications. Its security dashboard provides real-time alerts and alarms if someone attempts to circumvent security profiles, helping to eliminate potential security threats.

    You can also enlist the help of professionals known as ethical hackers to identify any vulnerabilities in your system and devices. Additionally, consider hiring dedicated security personnel who can focus on protecting your network from the latest attacks.

Choose Secure AV-over-IP Equipment:

For more information about AV-over-IP security, download the white paper.


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