Feeds

Sky Broadband puts the fault into default Wi-Fi security

Users in guess-able random keys quandary

Top three mobile application threats

Sky Broadband advises customers to consider changing their default Wi-Fi passwords - because the apparently random network keys are guess-able.

The ISP issues customers with a wireless router that is pre-configured with wireless security switched on, and an apparently random network key. This sounds like a good plan. However, the key is based on the router's MAC address, which is broadcast "in the clear" - i.e in unencrypted form.

Reg reader James, who brought the issue to our attention, said that getting the MAC address is trivial and working out the algorithm that links it to a network key is "not exactly rocket science".

The security shortcoming affects only Sky Broadband's original router, a rebadged Netgear DG834GT, and applies only where customers keep the default network key. This leaves plenty of scope for problems. "With about a million Sky customers using the original DG834GT router, there's likely to be hundreds of thousands of Sky customers thinking that they're safe, when in fact they are not," James notes.

Sky has not issued a general alert, even though it was informed of the matter a month ago, through its SkyUser community support forum. "Sky offered advice to users on that forum, to either disable wireless networking, or change their wireless password, but they still haven't told their wider customer base about this problem," James said.

In response to our questions, Sky Broadband said users can improve security by changing their default password (as explained here), comparing this, more or less, to adding a lock to an already bolted door.

"A wireless router is great for flexibility and convenience but no one wants to unwittingly share their connection with another user. We pre-configure all our routers with security settings so that customers' bandwidth is protected from day one. Our website offers advice to customers on how to further enhance this level of protection by changing their default password to another of their own choice," a Sky spokeswoman told El Reg. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
Google eyes business service in latest Fiber trials
Lucky Kansas City buggers to host yet another pilot program
Huawei exec: 'Word of mouth' will beat Apple and Samsung in Europe
World Mobile Telephone Factory No.3 won't fling the big bucks around just yet
Brazilian president signs internet civil rights law
Marco Civil bill enshines 'net neutrality', 'privacy' as law
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.