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Time Warner Cable Modems Expose Users 185

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
eldavojohn writes "Wired is reporting on a simple hack putting some 65,000 customers at risk. The hack to gain administrative access to the cable modem/router combo is remarkably simple: '[David] Chen, founder of a software startup called Pip.io, said he was trying to help a friend change the settings on his cable modem and discovered that Time Warner had hidden administrative functions from its customers with Javascript code. By simply disabling Javascript in his browser, he was able to see those functions, which included a tool to dump the router's configuration file. That file, it turned out, included the administrative login and password in cleartext. Chen investigated and found the same login and password could access the admin panels for every router in the SMC8014 series on Time Warner's network — a grave vulnerability, given that the routers also expose their web interfaces to the public-facing internet.' If you use Time Warner's SMC8014 series cable modem/Wi-Fi router combo, watch for firmware to be released soon that they are reportedly in the process of testing."
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Time Warner Cable Modems Expose Users

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  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:50AM (#29834101) Homepage

    ...is to put them in bridge mode and use your own router (no matter who your provider is). Same with DSL modems. Even when they aren't misconfigured (deliberately or due to sheer incompetence) the firmware is usually buggy and limited.

    • by milgram (104453) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:02AM (#29834207)

      While I agree with you, the issue usually isn't the small percentage of technically savvy people who use this, but rather the majority of folks looking to "plug and play". These are the security gaps that allow zombie DDoS attacks to happen so easily, as they open up easy access to lot's of similarly configured boxes.

    • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster.manNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:29AM (#29834417)

      I was under the impression that the only user-configurable option is to add URLs to a blocking list. There is no way to put it in bridge mode, and even if it was someone could log on and change it, and simply pass all your data to their servers anyway.

      This is the kind of setup you give people who don't know about security, so they can't muck it up. Of course, it needs to be secure in the first place, so this is a huge issue and fixable only with firmware (or different hardware).

    • by TimeTraveler1884 (832874) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:30AM (#29834427)
      Initially I was a little confused about the cable modem not being in bridge mode and having an admin interface at all. After RTFA, this vulnerability is only for SMC router/modem combo devices from TW. There was no mention of the Motorola cable modem I have from TW. The Motorola cable modems are acting as a bridge already because my router gets the lease to the public IP.

      So apparently no worries regarding this vulnerability for me, but this certainly sucks for 65K other people.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by peragrin (659227)

        You have the same as I then. Into a browser visit http://192.168.1.1/ [192.168.1.1] and play around. While it doesn't havethe stats the full router does you canreally fsck the time warners network and screw the frequencies of everyone on your local cable share. Be warned however you take out your network to do so. And you might not get it back without their help.

        Ihave had to manually reset them a couple of times for timewarner. However I haven't found any useful account data their. Just hardware settings.

    • I've always used bridge mode on modems of either type from ISPs. I never trust an ISP's modem/router combo.

      The only ISP I have respect for doing anything vaguely similar shipped out a Cisco router with their modem.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "...is to put them in bridge mode"

      Can you give some info and/or links to what 'bridge mode' is? New term to me...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:38AM (#29835043)
        Bridge mode is just that -- it's a connection between two separate networks. In this case, the TW box is connected to the Internet and is one point of the bridge. On the other end is your home network router, which acts as the other point of the bridge. Your network is physically separate from theirs, and joined by the single patch cable between the boxes.. This is usually how these things work anyways, even when it's all in one box. The difference here is that you're using two physical boxes to ensure the separation, which avoids absurd goofs like the one described in TFA.
    • ...is to put them in bridge mode and use your own router (no matter who your provider is).

      I was helping a day-trading friend with his home network. He is paying TimeWarner top dollars for the highest speed available. When his computer is connected to the cable modem directly speed-test was showing 15-17Mb/second. Adding even a (gigabit) switch — so that his main computer remained reachable by others on the LAN — in the middle lowered the speed down to 12-14Mb/second. If we used a NATing router i

    • I completely agree, but the main problem is with connections like FIOS, you are required to put a good 3-4 hours into getting this right, because the 'free' router still needs to give TV data to the TVs for programming and OnDemand purposes. There are ways to bypass this, but NONE that a novice should ever attempt doing.

      My connection is currently set up so that it looks like my FIOS cable boxes are downloading torrents of TV shows :P

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @07:51AM (#29834115) Homepage
    Presumably armed FBI agents are en route to neutralize notorious terrorist hacker David Chen even now. 50 years in Gitmo is too good for him.
    • by Abreu (173023)

      The sad part is that Time Warner would probably push for this, rather than admit guilt

  • Why wait? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
    Install your own patch right now by cancelling your Time Warner contract, throwing the router in the trash, and getting a new ISP with better hardware. Hell, fork out $50 for a tried and tested model from Newegg. Be sure to tell Time Warner to "Abragofuckyourself" when they say you're tied into a contract by using the words "unfit for purpose" "gross criminal negligence" and "class action"

    Yeah, my utopian world of consumer power is better than this one of "Please, Mr Corporation, harder and deeper!"
    • Re:Why wait? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:27AM (#29834401) Homepage Journal
      So you are saying I should go back to dial-up...? Because that is my only alternative. Thanks for doing my cost/benefit analysis of this situation for me! It is definitely better to have worthless internet than to just maintain my own router!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        How about lobbying your congressman to get the monopoly given to Time Warner / AT&T / Comcast / Sprint or whatever split up as anti-competitive and not just taking a big rubbery one up the wrong'un?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dissy (172727)

          How about lobbying your congressman to get the monopoly given to Time Warner / AT&T / Comcast / Sprint or whatever split up as anti-competitive and not just taking a big rubbery one up the wrong'un?

          Lobby as in write letters?
          Check.

          Lobby as in send 'contributions' in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year like time warner does?
          Not so much. All though if you let me borrow that amount, I will do exactly that with it. Just paypal it to me!
          Sadly I have discovered they do not accept monopoly money :{

          • If your congressman won't help, get another one.

            I know democracy is a rubbish system (especially in first-past-the-post systems), but it's not difficult. The electorate just need the situation explained to them, and to understand why they should care.
            • The electorate just need the situation explained to them, and to understand why they should care.

              Again, it sounds like those millions would come in handy, at least to counter the millions being spent by Time Warner for the opposite.

              • Like I originally said, my utopian world of consumer power is better than the current world.

                I can dream...
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by jandrese (485)
              Time Warner has pissed me off. I need you to vote your senator out of office! Wait, his replacement would be exactly the same? Then vote him out too!
          • by RulerOf (975607) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:38AM (#29835871)

            Sadly I have discovered they do not accept monopoly money :{

            What do you mean? They've been accepting money from various monopolies for decades!

          • "Lobby as in send 'contributions' in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year like time warner does?
                Not so much."

            What, you don't have a little chump change laying around? That sucks man.

            Join the crowd, though. It's hard for me to come up with $100 sometimes.

            What REALLY SUCKS is, the corporations actually do own America. If someone started a serious revolution, I'd join in a heartbeat.

        • You probably don't need your congressman. Most cable monopolies are granted locally, by the city. As a bonus, you have a good chance of actually talking to the person responsible, unless you live in a very large city.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by barzok (26681)

          The local monopolies aren't granted by your congressman, not even your state legislator. It's on a more local level, and usually done by people who have even less information than a congressman would have.

          Even if this were viable, it'd take years to oust TW, open things up, and then get another ISP in town. My house is 1/4 mile from a Verizon building (I presume the main switching station for the town), and I can't get any high-speed offering from them - no DSL, no FiOS, nothing. My options are between TW a

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Dial up is "worthless Internet?" I guess half of the world's Internet users have been swindled.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by EricX2 (670266)
          Yes... it is worthLESS than broadband.
        • Re:Why wait? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by thepotoo (829391) <{thepotoospam} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:16AM (#29834815)

          Speaking as someone who has no option of anything other than dial-up, I can tell you that it most certainly is worthless.

          Remember back in 1999 how it would take 15 seconds to load a page? Now imagine that every page has flash instead of pictures and most serves will decide to give you a timeout message if you take longer than 45 seconds to respond to a request. Youtube, torrents, the whole digital distribution revolution is totally useless.

          I dare you, go back to dial-up for two weeks. Completely worthless Internet. Yeah, I've still got Internet at the library, but that doesn't allow me to get patches for my OS or watch Youtube, now does it?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I use dialup and can access youtube videos, bittorrent the latest Stargate episodes, download pics, and so on. The only thing I can't do is access streaming video sites like NBC.com, since they require minimum 192k connections, but everything else works just fine. Even flash-heavy sites like imdb.com

            One advantage I probably have over your connection is I use Netscape ISP. It uses on-the-fly image, text, and flash compression to speed things up. You providerr may not have it, so consider an upgrade: http [getnetscape.com]

        • Two-thirds of the world's internet just care about their email and bbc.co.uk. They're fine.

          However, it's a fair assumption that anyone posting on Slashdot uses the internet for many, many more things, and having all those other things taken away would make it "worthless", especially since most Slashdot users can check their email and the news on their phone for "free".

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pak9rabid (1011935)

      Install your own patch right now by cancelling your Time Warner contract, throwing the router in the trash, and getting a new ISP with better hardware. Hell, fork out $50 for a tried and tested model from Newegg. Be sure to tell Time Warner to "Abragofuckyourself" when they say you're tied into a contract by using the words "unfit for purpose" "gross criminal negligence" and "class action"

      Only on slashdot would such a ridiculous "solution" be proposed, when putting the CPE in bridged mode and using your own router (which I'd think most everyone here would be doing already) would suffice.

      • It's never ridiculous to break the back of a monopoly or duopoly (Time-warner/Verizon). People who don't have choice don't have liberty.

        • It's never ridiculous to break the back of a monopoly or duopoly (Time-warner/Verizon). People who don't have choice don't have liberty.

          Oh please. Time Warner doesn't have a monopoly on Internet access where I live, they just happen to be the best choice for a fast and reliable connection.

          • I don't believe you. I you want high-speed internet, the cable and DSL companies hold the exclusive licenses. That makes them a duopoly. (Or a monopoly in areas without DSL.)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dare nMc (468959)

        you left out the tinfoil. No seriously you would also want to remove the antennas, or wrap the TW box in a Faraday cage IE tinfoil (OK it is unlikely but...)
        If anyone can remote into the Wifi/bridge config portion of the router, sounds like you could still remote into the neighbors router with this, change his wifi settings of the TW box for you to connect through, set your wifi connected box as their new dns/dhcp/etc host, change the IP of the TW box (so if they hardcoded) all their traffic would now go t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Be sure to tell Time Warner to "Abragofuckyourself" when they say you're tied into a contract by using the words "unfit for purpose" "gross criminal negligence" and "class action"

      Unfortunately, in negligence cases the courts often look to the industry standard to decide what sort of precautions a company ought to take. Given that the industry standard is basically no security at all this might be a tough case. Also, to establish negligence you'd have to show some actual harm done - not just the potential for harm. "Unfit for purpose" might still get you out of the contract though.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Install your own patch right now by cancelling your Time Warner contract, throwing the router in the trash, and getting a new ISP with better hardware."

      The only alternative where I live is dialup, and AOL is still the fastest dialup in the area.

      • I think you'll find Netscape ISP w/ web accelerator is faster. (Of course NS is owned by AOL so your statement is still mostly accurate.)

    • by amplt1337 (707922)

      Sounds like somebody hasn't heard about the cable monopoly.

  • by Animaether (411575) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:00AM (#29834199) Journal

    I wonder if this is the same 'hack' used to attack Belgacom.
    http://tweakers.net/nieuws/63200/belgacom-hacker-publiceerde-authentieke-inloggegevens-van-klanten.html [tweakers.net]

    For the curious, a quick recap in English...

    A hacker going by the name 'Vendetta', supposedly an American living in Belgium, got fed up with the monthly data cap (at Belgacom, figured out that there's a way to find the username/password for a modem by browsing to it (much as in this article), did that to a claimed several thousand (285,000) modems, and is threatening to release them slowly over time until November 30th as long as Belgacom keeps its monthly data cap.

    So far this hacker released 30 usernames/passwords, and they were found to be genuine.

    Belgacom contacted authorities, is investigating the claimed method of hacking, blabla.

    The modem in question with Belgacom is labeled a "B-Box2-modem".

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      And (a screenshot of) the original post by "Vendetta":

      http://tweakers.net/ext/i/1256117383.png [tweakers.net]

    • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:10AM (#29834757)

      Why are evil minions so dumb. This guy gets access to all these passwords and his only idea is to blackmail a corporate entity more evil then himself...by doling out uid/pwd combinations a few at a time...please!!

      As was already stated the first action by evil corporation is to get the law on their side so they do not have to do any work to change anything. The law pursues the bad guy and he realizes the grand scheme not only fails, but now he's screwed because ultimately he either gets caught, or can't release anything else for fear of being caught and thus becomes harmless. He never gets what he wants.

      Were it me (and I most certainly do not live in Belgium) and I choose to do evil I would have blasted all uid/pwds at once across as many nodes as possible thus, for a moment, potentially hurting the pockets of evil corporation. Short lived excitement with no long term reward, but still would be fun to watch the fallout.

      My other idea would be to use my new found data to my advantage. Can I load slaves on all those systems so that when I want to watch streaming video of pr0n I piggyback on someone else's quota. Perhaps I can monitor usage and find users with low bandwidth and borrow (steal) from them. I would never ever share this information with others, because certainly at some point a "friend" would abuse the system, or rat me out if/when caught.

      No, the guy blackmails a corporate with some stupid ass name and a piss poor methodology for revenge. Do they not teach anything at Evil U any more?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Perhaps I can monitor usage and find users with low bandwidth and borrow (steal) from them. I would never ever share this information with others, because certainly at some point a "friend" would abuse the system, or rat me out if/when caught.

        (looks around)

        Is there a camera in this basement? It's like I'm being watched. Oh no, I've said too much. +++

        ATH
        ^&@^&%*!!%*!@
        NO CARRIER

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        If I was him, I would have somehow figured out a way to add 285,000 TOR exit nodes.

        THAT would have been fun. Every user in the country hits their quota, while completely screwing the ISP's transit quotas. They would never dare bill all of their customers for that kind of overage, they would HAVE to eat it.

  • by Col. Panic (90528) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:02AM (#29834209) Homepage Journal

    the public-facing internet

    wait. what? why?

    • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:09AM (#29834265) Homepage

      Convenience and incompetence. They want to be able to run scripts to update/reconfigure all the modems and this is the first method that occured to them. Being stupid, they didn't think it through.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I don't know if they're using DOCSIS, but I can't imagine they aren't. If I'm wrong, ignore the rest of this comment; but if they are DOCSIS modems, then they get their config file from the network every time you boot them. Even if they aren't DOCSIS modems, that's still the most reasonable way to configure them, and if they didn't do that they should be shot into orbit without a suit, or perhaps with one but on a rapidly decaying orbit and without heat shields.

        • problem: clueless time warner suit needs to hire a "programmer" to config their modems remotely

          solution: his sister's boyfriend is a programmer, a JAVASCRIPT programmer

          problem solved. wait, here's an email from a guy in tech support, something about a DOCSIS. delete email...

          • by ae1294 (1547521)

            Someone should just go ahead and brick every last one of them routers. At least it would cost the corp some money. Would suck for the end user but maybe they would learn not to trust stupid corps...

      • The nice thing is that they may actually be able to update everyone on their networks to plug the hole, given this feature.

        Whether they will or not is another issue.

      • by Col. Panic (90528)

        underscore incompetence. that is just ridiculous given the maintenance overhead involved with patching any found vulnerabilities down the road. let's hand out the password in clear text while we are at it. shoot me now

      • by flibuste (523578) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:26AM (#29834901)

        Yes incompetence looks like the primary cause here. Whoever hides the access to administrative functions of anything by simple javascript on a web page should be at best fired.

        It is quite amazing to see how many programmers are just totally clueless about the technology they're using. It's just appauling.

    • It's just a nice way to make it so if an inexperienced hacker fails to break into your network, he can just pull up the web interface, open the port he's trying to use, and then continue hacking your internal systems. Think of the (children) hackers! :-P

  • FAIL (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gzipped_tar (1151931)

    According to TFA (my karma be damned), Web-based admin UI is enabled on these routers, not only for the LAN but for the whole fucking Internet. This must be the dumbest default setting ever.

    Also in TFA...

    Time Warner’s Dudley says the SMC8014 modem/routers are just a small portion of the 14 million devices its customers are using.

    What's more? Gnome With the Ping of Death? ;)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Again (1351325)

      According to TFA (my karma be damned), Web-based admin UI is enabled on these routers, not only for the LAN but for the whole fucking Internet. This must be the dumbest default setting ever.

      Although I agree that it is dumb, I think that it is to make technical support easier for the company. If the company can go straight to your router and configure it then it makes their life easier. Of course, it turns out that it makes a lot of people's lives easier including hackers.

      • by Jellybob (597204)

        Leaving the admin interfaces exposed is fairly common practice for ISPs, since it allows them to reflash and do maintenance on routers they are responsible for.

        The good ones have the competence to limit that access to the IP range that maintenance will be happening from though.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by 6ULDV8 (226100)

        Then they should put the admin network on an administrative VLAN like they do their core equipment, so that the majority of the Internet can't see it.

  • This is not a hack, this is incompetence from the guys who sold that in the first place.

    Are all Time Warner employees marketers or something?

  • If you use Time Warner's SMC8014 series cable modem/Wi-Fi router combo, watch for firmware to be released soon that they are reportedly in the process of testing.

    And if you are a hacker planning to pwn Time Warner's SMC8014 series cable modem/Wi-Fi router combo, be sure to get your exploit written and distributed soon before the new firmware is released.

    • Or just wait for the new firmware and hack that: it will be just as bad.

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        Or just wait for the new firmware and hack that: it will be just as bad.

        I was about to say "Or worse".

        However, I can't think of any such situation, unless the router actually has a list of known hackers and directly mails them the password everytime it's changed.

  • Maybe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Akita24 (1080779)
    Maybe if they actually gave 0.0000000001% of a shit about the service they provide instead of spending millions trying to figure out how to fuck the customers they've oversold to out of YetAnotherPenny ... nah, won't happen.
  • by hitech69 (78566)

    AOL/TWC have gone through so many reorganizations and consolidations, the best and brightest have been gone from the company for quite some time. This is just a result of continuing to run a failing course.

  • ...all sold to beacon by default , plenty sold with a googlable default password (or none at all) which they never prompt the user to change , encryption - even WEP - switched off by default.

    Etc.

    It took me all of 2 minutes to get into my mums neighbours home network via their belkin wifi router.

    And yes , I did tell them how to secure it. And they ignored me. What can you do?

    • At least those do not have the configuration accessable from the WAN by default. Also, they normally have either instructions or a setup wizard that sets up security for them. This is a case of WAN-accessable config pages that let unauthenticated users download the config file, which stores the username and password in plain text. The difference is clueless users versus extremely insecure design.

      This is the difference between a linux box configured with insecure settings and a Windows 98 box sitting on the

  • re: the summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by jlmale0 (1087135) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:18AM (#29834335)
    My initial, gut response to this was sheer horror. They list exploit and target side-by-side! The only mention of a fix is that it's to be 'released soon', informing any malicious agents out there that now is the time to strike.

    Reading the Wired article, the right thing was done. Big company was sitting on their hands, and now that publicity has been made, they're starting to move.

    Wired did the right thing. But this summary, it's fear-mongering and bad journalism.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ash-Fox (726320)

      But this summary, it's fear-mongering and bad journalism.

      You must be new here.

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:20AM (#29834355) Homepage

    This isn't just a security vulnerability - those things happen. This is gross negligence. There are 3 simultaneous absolutely bone-headed things here:

    - PUBLIC facing web configuration? I have never, ever, ever, seen a router that did that. Not even cheesy home routers.
    - JAVASCRIPT is their security? That was dumb back in 1998, but who does that now?
    - CLEAR TEXT username/password? There was this great technique we used back in 1975 called hashing. Look it up. Why does it even write the username/password out anyway?

    This is one of those cases of just too many stupid things all at once for it to be a mistake.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vellmont (569020)


      - JAVASCRIPT is their security? That was dumb back in 1998, but who does that now?

      I heard a story that a major public University had exactly this kind of vulnerability in its new financial system. It was found and plugged, but it never should have been their in the first place. I'd reveal which University, but the story was passed down to me 3rd hand so it's not completely verified.

      This kind of idiocy is more common than you'd think. Too many programmers aren't taught to think about security and develop

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:44AM (#29834555)
      - PUBLIC facing web configuration? I have never, ever, ever, seen a router that did that. Not even cheesy home routers.

      Even the cheesy home routers have this as an option, but it's always buried deep in the 'advanced' configuration options, and it's ALWAYS disabled by default.
  • by loutr (626763) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:20AM (#29834359)
    Some years ago, part of my tech support job was to set up PLANET [planet.com.tw] ADSL modem/wifi routers. I quickly noticed that the admin login / password was embedded in most configuration pages. But not to worry, they had cleverly hidden them with this brilliant security technique :

    style="color:white;background-color:white"

    ...

  • This is like finding out an uncut car key can open any Ford.

    Meanwhile Verizon FIOS has been rolling out firmware upgrade to their routers that prohibit you from running your own secure sub-net inside their routers.

    Why do these clowns think that because they control the last mile they can arrogantly control the whole internet?

    • by Dunbal (464142)

      If you need a key, you are doing it wrong...

    • by ijakings (982830)
      Because they have a piece of paper from the government telling them they can do whatever the fuck they want. And if it isnt covered by an old agreement? Well new illegal ones spring up all the time.
    • by kalirion (728907)

      Meanwhile Verizon FIOS has been rolling out firmware upgrade to their routers that prohibit you from running your own secure sub-net inside their routers.

      Huh? Does that mean if I get FIOS, I wouldn't be able to plug in a wireless router into whatever the FIOS modem is?

  • I've got Sky broadband (because we only need the cheapest package, which is free with the TV package) and their router has a very easily guessable password that they don't tell you (so you can't configure things). I don't know if the interface is web accessible, but we were having network issues fairly recently and they said "we couldn't check your router", which I assume means that they tried to log in remotely with the original password.

  • Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ledow (319597) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @08:49AM (#29834595) Homepage

    The Javascript thing isn't important - that's how the device operates because it's been told to and, in 99% of circumstances it's an internal-only device. My printer offers up a lot worse options. However, exposing that interface to the web is stupid, as are using standardised passwords.

    The former is nothing but user-education and/or forcing them into a password from the factory (like a lot of wireless routers comes with WPA keys printed on the bottom of them).

    For the latter, a lot of cheap ADSL modems/routers do this, it's hardly a shock. Some of them run telnet on ports 254/255 and the only way to get rid of it is to forward that port to a non-existent IP address. Yes, it's crap security. Yes, they should know better. But, additionally, it's their fault from day one and people have known about this for YEARS.

    It would also pick up on *any* external security scanner (e.g. nmap, GRC.com's ShieldsUp!) and any competent person would be testing any new system with something like that anyway. I know I've always scanned whenever I've used a new connection, if only to find what proxy servers / port-blocking / port-forwarding are in place. And yet all my Internet connections have hard-coded DNS, the router acts as nothing more than a passthrough to a real firewall (usually Linux iptables, if only for decent, configurable NAT / port-forwarding) and anything vaguely suspicious on an external scan is investigated (my ISP offer port 139 filtering as default, for example).

    If you didn't know about it, test it. If you haven't already disabled it, do so. If you're that worried, change the device. This type of problem has been around for YEARS, and only the bog-standard, password is 'password', home users would ever be hurt by it. I think it's disgusting that they are, but they are not the only ISP / modem / router that has these problems.

    And to claim this is new/shocking is quite misleading - most router manufacturers have suffered from this since ADSL became mainstream. Even things like BT's HomeHub have had similar security problems over the years.

  • Not a hack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:02AM (#29834697)
    This is not a hack. This is leaving the key *on top* of the doormat.
    • This is not a hack. This is leaving the key *on top* of the doormat.

      To be fair, at least they painted the key brown so that it matched the color of the doormat. : p
  • These idiots can't figure out how to secure the config pages of a cable modem, and we are to trust that they can implement QOS correctly? I've only been working on networks and IT stuff for a decade, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about, but QOS seems a bit harder to do than securing a cable modem config page.

    We need net neutrality for two reasons:

    1. To keep the internet open to all that would want to use it.

    2. To keep grossly incompetent network administrators' hands off of our data.

    -ted

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:32AM (#29835803) Journal
    I was very much worried when I got Verizon FiOS. The Verizon supplied router is actually a linux box that has a web server and it throws a username/password dialog to the WAN side. I was worried so much I had another old router behind the Verizon router and connected my machines to this second router. But the other router was old and it maxed out at 10Mbps and FiOS was delivering 20Mbps. So I did some googling. Found that Verizon has been shipping that kind of routers for more than 5 years and so far no hack has been found. So I removed my second line of defense. Looks like it is a prudent idea to buy a more capable modern router and protect the machines from possible future hacks.
    • Found that Verizon has been shipping that kind of routers for more than 5 years and so far no hack has been found. So I removed my second line of defense. Looks like it is a prudent idea to buy a more capable modern router and protect the machines from possible future hacks.

      You're acting as if that router is some kind of silver bullet. There is no such thing. Security measures should always be layered; never count on one measure to deflect attacks against you. Make penetration of the system more hassle than

  • I remember 10 years ago already, when there were a few good articles, and lists of all the default passwords given for all the routers brands and makes, etc... so that hacking would be that much easier, but this is like finding a few hundred needles in a haystack, talk about bad management .....I am sure someone wanted to save time and factor in a quick access method with the least amount of effort or memory.

  • Anyone know if this vulnerability is specific to Time Warner? That's the same model cable modem I have on my Comcast service.

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