Feeds

Yet another hole found in BT Wi-Fi router

BT Home Hub's loose lips

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Users of Britain's most popular Wi-Fi router have yet another reason to change the default settings toute de suite, and once again they have the folks in BT's security department to thank.

In recent weeks, they changed the default password in the BT Home Hub, from "admin" to the device's unique serial number. In theory, this should improve user security by making it next to impossible for intruders to guess the credentials to gain administrative control of the combination modem and wireless access point. And this could only be a good thing, in light of the many security vulnerabilities (for example, here, here and here) exposed in the device over the past seven months.

But it turns out the BT Home Hub is only too happy to volunteer its serial number, according to GNUCitizen, an ethical hacking think tank. Requests sent to the device's multicast IP address (224.0.0.103) are promptly answered.

Of course, such requests can only be sent by a machine connected to the local area network, but getting access isn't as hard as you might expect: The BT Home Hub defaults to the woefully inadequate Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) to secure itself. And even when users opt for the more robust Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) the device uses a weak algorithm to generate keys that could enable attackers to crack the protection when the default encryption key value is used.

BT has taken a fair amount of flak for the security of its router, and it seems likely the decision to change the administrative password was made to quell some of the criticism. The episode is yet another reminder that security isn't something that can be tacked on as an afterthought.

For now, it's important to know that the default security settings won't keep you safe. The only way to lock it down is to follow these instructions. The typical Reg reader should have no trouble, but think of the average BT user. Bailing out a leaky rowing boat doesn't do a lot of good if you don't take time to plug the hole first. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.