Be customers still exposed by router snafu
ISP playing cat and mouse on security
O2-owned ISP Be is fighting a constant battle to stay one step ahead of hackers because of a router vulnerability exposed back in February.
Be subscribers were exposed when London student Sid Karunaratne demonstrated it was possible to gain remote root access using poorly concealed telnet backdoors. Admin usernames and passwords had been left accessible by Be.
Details of the original exploit are here.
Be responded by first accusing Karunaratne of hacking its internal network, and then booting him off the service. It released a firmware update in March which tightened up the access control list for the telnet service ports.
However, it's emerged that whenever the router is reset to factory settings - which Be recommends as part of the procedure for switching from a dynamic to a static IP, for example - the configuration is refreshed with the original access control list, leaving it wide open once again. Customers sometimes restore factory settings when the router crashes too.
Routers sent out since the update don't have the vulnerability. Be says it addresses it in older models by flashing the firmware repeatedly everyday. It sent us this statement:
Access is restricted to specific IP addresses. This is managed through new firmware we released in March 2007. All new members that have joined since then have received Be Boxes with the updated firmware on. For all members that joined prior to that Be runs a script multiple times a day to update members firmware with the relevant patch.
It asked users to get in touch if they're having problems.
New O2 broadband customers, who will be using the Be ADSL2+ network, won't be affected by the constant need to flash the firmware*. ®
*Correction: Several readers wrote to point out our error that they are updating the ACL templates, not flashing the firmware. Apologies for the mistake.
Thanks to Finlay for the heads up.
I would mostly agree with that.
The service is generally excellent - no outages that I've noticed on my connection which is in use 24/7 - and the price has recently been dramatically cut too.
Still, the default SpeedTouch unit is a hunk of crap. I'll be ordering a decent ADSL2+ modem fairly shortly myself.
Why would you go with NetGear though, thats almost as bad! The wireless works perfectly on mine - I've given my downstairs neighbour a WPA2 key for it - he can access it no problem and gets good speeds despite loads of solid stuff (including a metal filing cabinet) between him and the access point. I reckon if you're having wireless issues, changing to a NetGear device will be throwing your money away.
Rubbish box anyway
Being here too, good speeds crap service.
With all the problems I have with my bebox (wireless is shafted) im resorting to buying a netgear anyway, they can have this pile of crap back.
As a Be*ing myself, I was one of the one's that flagged up the fact that a factory reset or reload of firmware and /or the Be config templates would negate the fix Be were implementing with the script
The script just modifies the config (user.ini file) and restricts access by IP as opposed to leaving things open for anyone to access
I can feel a hardware refresh coming along at some point