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NDAA Compliant Security Cameras: Are Your Cameras Secure?

May 7, 2024

Mammoth Takeaways

  • Increasing geopolitical tensions and the proliferation of cyber threats have inspired stricter NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) regulations for security cameras.
  • NDAA-compliant cameras are manufactured by approved companies, have a transparent supply chain, and are equipped with robust security features.
  • Compliance with NDAA standards reflects a business's dedication to national security and ethical practices, making it a more attractive and trustworthy partner in all sectors, particularly those handling sensitive information.

A study by the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) reveals that 91% of public schools had implemented security camera monitoring by 2020. This statistic, up from 61% a decade before, underscores the increasing reliance on surveillance technology in both government settings and daily life.

security cameras in schools

That said, not all security cameras are secure.

Some cameras, particularly those manufactured in hostile countries, may come with secret backdoors that can be exploited during military conflicts, posing a significant threat to U.S. national security and the security of its allies.

To combat this risk, the National Defense Authorization Act has undergone significant amendments in recent years aimed at tightening the reins on foreign surveillance and espionage.

NDAA-compliant security cameras are now subject to rigorous scrutiny. This includes a thorough vetting of the camera's manufacturer, the origins of its components, and the integrity of its software.

But why does any of this matter to national security, and what does it mean for businesses and organizations, especially those in sensitive sectors?

Let's dive in. Keep reading to uncover the essentials of NDAA-compliant security cameras.

Understanding the NDAA

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a comprehensive framework of legislation passed annually in the United States.

illustration of worldwide surveillance footage accessibility

While it primarily outlines the budget, policies, and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense, its influence goes beyond military financing to setting standards for security equipment that won’t compromise national defense.

National Security vs. Cameras from Hostile Nations

The challenges posed by Chinese-made cameras to security in democratic nations became painfully obvious in 2014. That year, China-allied Russia leveraged backdoor access to Hikvision cameras and other Chinese equipment to implement massive denial-of-service (DOS) attacks, shutting down Ukrainian Internet servers and power grids as the initial waves of Russian mercenaries moved into Eastern Ukraine.

As recently as January 2024, Russian forces were still using backdoors into Ukraine’s Chinese-made HikVision cameras to find critical infrastructure, air defense systems, and other targets for military strikes.

While HikVision is state-owned, the same security concerns apply to all companies based in China, including companies that aren’t technically state-owned.

Any business or technology based in China can be commandeered by the Chinese government to exploit manufacturer backdoors for purposes of espionage or cyber warfare on behalf of itself and its allies.

What Does NDAA-Compliance Entail?

Security camera compliance with NDAA provisions entails a comprehensive vetting process of the camera's supply chain.

  • Businesses must ensure that the manufacturer of their security cameras is not listed on the U.S. government's ban list.
  • The origin of camera components must be scrutinized to prevent accidental use of banned foreign hardware and technology components.
  • Beyond hardware, the software running on NDAA-compliant cameras requires rigorous evaluation to safeguard against vulnerabilities.

NDAA-Compliant vs. Non-Compliant Cameras


NDAA-Compliant Cameras

Non-Compliant Cameras

Manufacturing Origin

Manufactured by companies not listed on the U.S. government's ban list.

May be manufactured by companies that are banned due to national security concerns.

Supply Chain Transparency

Transparent supply chain with all components verified to be secure and not under foreign government control.

Supply chains may include components from restricted or unverified sources.

Security Features

Equipped with robust security features to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

May lack sufficient security features, making them vulnerable to hacking and espionage.

Firmware and Software Integrity

Regular updates and patches to address security vulnerabilities, ensuring integrity and compliance.

Infrequent updates, potentially leaving systems exposed to cyber threats.

Government Approval

Meets the criteria set forth by the NDAA, allowing for use in sensitive and governmental environments.

Does not meet NDAA criteria, restricting use in federal installations and certain business sectors.

Risk of Sanctions

No risk of sanctions or legal issues when used in compliance with U.S. laws.

Potential for legal repercussions, including fines and sanctions, due to non-compliance.

Trust and Reliability

Higher trust from clients and partners, especially in sectors involving national security.

Lower trust and potential reputational damage, especially if linked to security breaches.

Benefits of NDAA-Compliant Cameras

Enhanced Security

Unlike non-compliant alternatives, these cameras are designed with robust security features that safeguard sensitive information, ensuring that surveillance data is protected from external threats and internal vulnerabilities.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Legal and regulatory compliance ensures adherence to federal laws, reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties associated with the use of banned or unsafe equipment.

Trust and Reliability in Surveillance Systems

Clients and partners are more likely to trust businesses that meet high national security standards. This trust is invaluable, especially for organizations operating in sensitive sectors or handling critical data.

NDAA Criteria and Implementation

Criteria for NDAA Compliance

  1. First, the camera and its components must not originate from companies blacklisted for posing national security risks—primarily those with ties to hostile foreign governments like China and Russia.
  2. Second, the supply chain of the camera must be transparent and free from restricted entities. Absolutely all camera parts must be from secure and approved sources.
  3. Finally, the device's software must be secure against unauthorized access and free from vulnerabilities that could be exploited for espionage. Securing NDAA software includes regular software updates and patches to address new vulnerabilities, employing strong encryption for data transmission and storage, and conducting thorough security audits and penetration testing to identify and fix security flaws.

How Security Cameras Become NDAA Compliant

Manufacturers ensure their security cameras meet NDAA standards through rigorous processes, starting with thorough background checks on their supply chains.

During design and production, they implement robust security features to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.

Manufacturers of NDAA-compliant cameras regularly update firmware to address new vulnerabilities and undergo independent security audits to verify compliance.

Mammoth and NDAA-Compliant Security Cameras

Mammoth Security logo in the sky and two bullet cameras on a pole.

By ensuring compliance with the NDAA, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to security, reliability, and ethical practices—strengthening their reputation and operational stability in one swoop.

Whether you're looking to purchase an all-new NDAA-compliant camera system or need assistance with your existing setup, our experts can make sure your security infrastructure meets the highest standards.

Contact Mammoth Security today with any questions or concerns—or to schedule an absolutely FREE, zero-obligation site survey and consultation with an expert from our team.




NDAA compliance for security cameras means that the cameras and their components don’t originate from companies blacklisted by the U.S. government. The cameras also must have secure, tamper-proof software.

NDAA compliance is crucial for businesses and organizations as it ensures adherence to federal laws—thereby reducing the risk of legal issues and penalties associated with the use of banned or unsafe equipment. NDAA compliance also ensures that surveillance data is protected from external threats.

Security cameras meet NDAA standards through rigorous processes, including thorough background checks on supply chains, implementation of robust security features during design and production, and regular firmware updates to address new vulnerabilities. Manufacturers also undergo independent security audits to verify NDAA compliance, ensuring their products are suitable for use in sensitive and governmental environments.

Businesses should prioritize NDAA-compliant security systems to avoid legal issues, ensure the security and privacy of their surveillance data, and maintain high standards of trust and reliability.

The benefits of using NDAA-compliant security cameras include legal and regulatory compliance, as well as enhanced site security and privacy. These cameras safeguard sensitive information and demonstrate that businesses adhere to high national security standards.

The differences between NDAA-compliant and non-compliant security cameras include their manufacturing origin, supply chain transparency, security features, firmware and software integrity, government approval, risk of sanctions, and the level of trust and reliability they offer.

Businesses can ensure their security cameras are NDAA compliant by verifying that the cameras are not manufactured by companies on the U.S. government's ban list, ensuring the cameras' components come from secure and approved sources, and making sure the software is up-to-date and secure against unauthorized access. Businesses should also conduct regular audits and updates in line with NDAA standards and work with reputable suppliers and dealers known for their compliance with federal regulations.

Using non-NDAA-compliant security cameras can lead to legal repercussions, including fines, sanctions, and the prohibition of use in federal installations and certain business sectors. Non-compliance can also result in reputational damage and loss of trust from clients and partners, especially in sectors involving national security.

NDAA-compliant cameras enhance security and privacy by being equipped with robust security features that prevent unauthorized access and data breaches. They safeguard sensitive information, ensuring that surveillance data is protected from external threats and internal vulnerabilities.

NDAA compliance positively impacts a business's reputation by demonstrating a commitment to security, reliability, and ethical practices. It shows that a business values and adheres to high national security standards, which can strengthen operational stability and build trust with clients, partners, and stakeholders, especially in sensitive sectors.



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