Web Admin Blog Real Web Admins. Real World Experience.


Rise of the Personal Firewall

The other day I read that Comcast is launching a new plan to turn home internet users into unwilling participants in their new global wifi strategy.  I'm sure that they will soon be touting how insanely awesome it will be to get "full strength" internet access virtually anywhere just by subscribing to this service.  Other than the issues with taking a service that the consumer already pays for and carving out their bandwidth for other people, the security practitioner in me can't help but wonder what the security ramifications of sharing an internet connection like this actually means.  Combine this with the default access to your cable modem that your service provider already has, and it paints a very scary picture of network security for the home user.  It is no longer sufficient (if it ever was) to rely on your cable modem for network access controls.  Thus, I am advocating in favor of placing a personal firewall between your cable modem and your network for all home internet setups.

Now, it's not as bad as you may think.  It doesn't have to be some crazy expensive piece of equipment like you'd purchase for a business.  Even the basic home gateways come with the ability to do Network Address Translation (NAT) which effectively turns your internet connection into a one-way pipe.  All I'm saying is that instead of plugging your network devices directly into the cable modem for Internet access, you should use your own hardware and draw a clear "line in the sand" between your equipment and theirs.  In addition, I would advocate that you should no longer consider the wifi access provided by the cable modem device as safe and should use your own equipment for this access.  In other words, treat anything on the WAN side of your home gateway/personal firewall as untrusted and protect against it accordingly.


Getting the Real Administrator Access to Time Warner RoadRunner’s Ubee Cable Modem

This post is going to be short and sweet as it's something I meant to put up here when I found it sometime back in mid-2011.  I'm not even sure if Time Warner is still using these Ubee cable modems for their RoadRunner offering, but I'm sure that there are at least a few people out there who still have them.  When you get the modem installed initially, they give you some default credentials.  Something like user/user or admin/admin.  Using these credentials, you are able to access the device and many of the features that it has to offer you.  What you are not able to do is access the menus where you can change how the router is actually configured for internet access, change the master password, or prevent Time Warner from accessing your modem, and subsequently, your network.  To fix this, you just need to know the following secret...

The real administrator username that comes configured on these modems when you get them from Time Warner is the last eight digits of the unit's MAC address sans the colons separating out the values.  This is unique to your device, but can be found pretty easily by looking at the user interface that you do have access to.  The password for this user is "c0nf1gur3m3".  Use that and you should be in.  Feel free to change the password while you're in there to keep the Time Warner folks out.

One other kinda secret thing to note is that if you do want to change how the router is configured for internet access, you will need to go to on your router to do so.  Once there, you can change it to Bridge mode, NAT mode, Router mode, or NAT Router mode depending on what you are looking to do with it.  Hope you enjoyed this simple solution for getting the real administrator access to Time Warner RoadRunner's Ubee cable modem.

***Update:  If the above isn't working for you on Time Warner Cable, try one of these suggestions from the comments:

  • Username: admin / Password: cableroot
  • Username: technician / Password: C0nf1gur3Ubee#
  • Username: admin / Password: C0nf1gur3Ubee#

Roadrunner Extreme Broadband Beta

I was having lunch with Charles Henderson from Trustwave Spider Labs the other day and he mentioned that he had just gotten signed up with the new Roadrunner Extreme Broadband Beta from Time Warner Cable. He mentioned insane download and upload speeds as well as the new DOCSIS 3.0 compliant modem. It was enough to pique my interest and get me to call Time Warner.

I have been on the older Roadrunner Turbo-charged plan since basically when it first came out and have been generally happy with the service up until recently when I've started having to reboot the modem daily. I'm also kind of an internet speed addict so the idea of moving up to 20 MB/s downloads and 5 MB/s uploads was pretty sweet to me. That's just to start with as eventually the service will have 30 MB/s downloads. I called up Time Warner and asked what it would take to move onto the Extreme Broadband Beta and they told me that it was only an extra $5/mo over my Turbo-charged plan. Even better was that they were offering free installation as part of the Beta. They were able to get the install scheduled just over a week out. Not too bad.

The service technicians came out on the designated day and time and got everything hooked up for me. They even replaced a bunch of the wiring on the box on the side of the house where the service connects to. They did some line tests and within minutes I was up and running on the new service. While not the 5 MB/s upload that was advertised to me, the download speed is quite impressive. Check it out:

The other cool thing is that while not necessarily intended, it is very easy to get into the new ubee modem's configuration interface. By default, the device comes up as on your network and has a username and password of user/user. Get in there and it's got all of the configuration options of a wireless internet gateway. The first thing that you should do is change the username and password. After that, enable the wireless network, configure port forwarding, etc.

Not only does the new modem have built-in wireless N, but it also has four additional network ports so you can use it with multiple computers on your network. I remember the days when Time Warner used to charge you if you had more than one computer, but not anymore.

Granted, I've only had the new service for a few hours now, but I'm already pretty impressed. If you're an internet speed demon like me, and you live in the Austin area, I'd recommend that you give Time Warner a call and ask about switching over to the new Roadrunner Extreme Broadband Beta. Enjoy!