Written by Dave Mora
On Jan 07 , 2005 for Daily Rants

Verizon allows people access my connection wirelessly.

 
  
  Buffer

[Background]

I live in an area serviced by Verizon. I must admit I have been happy with their service and reliability. I live in an area that was formerly GTE. Everyone in former GTE has enjoyed DSL service to be DHCP. People in Verizon areas that use to be Bell Atlantic have had been dealing with PPPoE for a while now.

[Personal Rant]

I hate PPPoE. For one they are more problematic. Most routers come with DHCP as default so if something happens to your router and your PPPoE settings are wiped you are inconvenienced with having to reconfigure the router.

I will be a Verizon dsl customer until they start converting this area to PPPoE.

[Discovery]

Lately Verizon has been sending customers the new Westell VersaLink Gateway.

This little ugly black box does pack a punch when it comes to consolidating your desktop clutter. Not only is an ATM Dsl Modem, but it also comes with a built in 4 port wireless router. The best part is for new DSL customers this box is FREE with commitment agreement.

The Westell VersaLink Gateway has a really good management. It comes with everything your typical ask for in a wireless router but it also supports PPTP/L2TP/IPSEC for VPN tunneling something not a lot of routers have.

The modem comes with the following items set as default:

ADSL modem = on
Router Enabled = on with DHCP
Wireless Access = Enabled with no security

This is where the problem comes in. Most of the customers in former GTE areas will get their new modem plug it in, turn it on, and forget about it since everything works. Not realizing they have their internet connection and network open to the public.

Even if you call support it appears they will not tell you about the wireless being on. They wont even suggest the idea that you might be exposed and walk you through disabling the wireless access.

I first learned of the Westell VersaLink Gateway modems by accident. I turned on my iMac and it informed me that I have two wireless access points to choose from. I had my wireless access I set up and another one that had what it appears to be a random set of numbers as the name. So, I decided to connect with the new one.

I pulled the IP and I notice it was a 192.167.1.49. I know most routers assigned the following ip’s 192.168.0.2 or 192.168.1.100. So, I was interested to wonder if this was a just a regular router. So, I checked the default gateway and it was 192.168.1.1 so I entered it on my browser and I was prompted for a username and password. So, I use the first username and password scheme everyone thinks of.

admin for the username
password for the password

I was then taken to Westell Page. I recognize the name Westell because the modem I use a Westell Wirespeed. So I headed over the Westell page to see what are my options. The online Westell device was the VersaLink.

So, I called Verizon to confirm my suspicious. I asked them, ?I have the westell wirespeed and a wireless router and I was thinking if you have a way I can just use 1 device for all my needs??. They suggested the Westell VersaLink Gateway. After I confirmed that it was the VersaLink I stated that I changed my mind in ordering one and hung up.

This is what you get now when you order dsl with a 1 year commitment.

So I decided to check out the Westell Gateway Configuration Page some more. For a company that has specialized in making modems their router/wireless options are impressive. It tells me what ports are used with what MAC Address and how much data has pass through it. Wireless supports both MAC and WEP Filtering.

I contacted Verizon for a comment on my findings and a Supervisor informed me that Tech Support Agents are allowed to help customers in configuring a wireless laptop with an external wireless card purchased from Verizon. They will also help the customer set up the wireless connection security on the VersaLink only if requested by the customer.

[Conclusion]

I discovered this DSL Modem/Router/Wireless Access Point in error. I think this is device is worth getting because it combines and simplifies your connection to the internet. No longer do you need to have a box for the DSL and a Box for a router/wireless access point. I just wished they looked as good as the Netgear Routers.

I am just hurt on how a company that is providing you the service and the equipment fails to inform you of the wireless access risk you are putting your self into and refuse to walk you through configuring any security or tell you how to disabled the wireless access with out you prompting the question. If your system becomes compromised because of someone accessing your wireless network I am sure they will refuse to take responsibility.

I am saddened at Verizon for not thinking things out and looking out for the customer. Is bad enough that Linksys Access point usually can be access with the default username and password but now most new DSL customers will be exposed unwillingly to people with a wireless card.

If the modem I am talking about looks familiar with the one you have. Call verizon and ask them to help you to disable the wireless connection or set up security.

Here are the contact numbers if you need support for your Westel VersaLinks

Verizon former GTE 1.866.765.1660
Verizon former Bell Atlantic 1.866.268.4630

Or if you don’t mind spending hours through their Voice Portal Answering Service this is the number they give you 1.800.567.6789

You can contact the maker of the Device at 1.630.375.4931 or even e-mail them at global_support@westell.com. Remember the number for westell is not free.

Hope this information was helpful to you. This may be a security issue you may be exposed to with out knowing. If it was not helpful o well I enjoyed writing it anyway.

-EnJoY




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