Feeds

UK's most popular Wi-Fi router defaults to insecurity

Come and get it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

From the folks at security think tank GNUCitizen comes yet another demonstration of the insecurity that's present by default in the UK's most popular home broadband router.

By default, the BT Home Hub, which is manufactured by Thomson/Alcatel, uses a weak algorithm to generate keys used for locking down a Wi-Fi network. So weak, in fact, that Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) keys can be predicted in just 80 guesses on average. GNUCitizen has written a program to automate the guessing game, but has decided not to release it for the time being.

It's been known for some time that WEP is not a reliable way to secure a Wi-Fi network. But the GNUCitizen's research, which is based on work by ethical hacker Kevin Devine, takes this understanding a step further. It allows the router to be cracked without the use of special hardware or software that's a hassle to configure and use.

The research also affects those using the much more robust Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) to secure their BT Home Hub. Because the algorithm uses a predictable means to determine the WPA, an attacker can easily determine the pass phrase (should the default encryption key value be used).

GNUCitizen has exposed other weaknesses in the router, including a VoIP hijacking vulnerability and the ability for attackers to bypass password protections. BT fixed both those issues shortly after they were brought to light.

BT spokesman Adam Liversage said the company is aware of the weakness and encourages people to change the default settings of WEP with a pre-set wireless key to WPA with a random key. Liversage said BT didn't believe any customers have been affected by the default settings, although he didn't explain how the company could even know.

The company has published instructions here that walks customers through the process of securing the device. If you fail to heed them, don't say we didn't warn you. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.