Security flaw found in Virgin Media Super Hub 2

A SERIOUS security vulnerability has been found in Virgin Media's newest Netgear router.

Paul Moore, an IT consultant, discovered that the Super Hub 2 router can leak user's security information every time the device is rebooted.

The security issue arises due to the device bringing up the wireless network without using any form of encryption, allowing anyone located nearby to view the user's password.

This problem presents a range of security worries for those using the device and, Moore warns on his blog, means hackers can force the devices to reboot, allowing them to steal the passwords.

Which customers are affected?

Somewhat thankfully, the security problem is only found in the Netgear VMDG485 router and modem, promoted and sold by Virgin Media as the Super Hub 2.

It's easy for customers to find out whether they're using that device.

The most effective way is to simply look on the bottom of the router where the model number is listed.

If customers are unsure about whether they are affected or not, they can ring the Virgin Media customer service line to establish the product they're using.

Virgin Media responded to the security threat to their customers by promising an update soon.

"The security of our services is of the highest importance and we are working with Netgear to develop and test a software update which will initialise encryption immediately from reboot and this is close to being issued," the broadband provider said in a statement.

Fixing the problem

Those that want to fix the issue before Virgin Media issue an update, which could be a few months, can do so fairly easily, however.

They just need to change their password through the modem setting page, often available by browsing to: http://192.168.0.1/.

The account requires a login and, if the default details are still in place, these can be found on the modem itself.

The password can then be changed in the Super Hub settings section (click on the large red icon). We've got some tips on creating a strong password here.

Virgin Media say that they encourage all customers to change their default passwords when their routers are first installed.

In practice, however, many continue to use their default settings.

Not so super Super Hub?

Virgin Media's Super Hub is generally regarded positively - see, for example, our quick comparison here - and even beats other popular routers in some tests.

For example, in September last year, researchers at the University of Bristol carried out a range of tests on household routers to determine the best performing device available to consumers and found that the Virgin Media Super Hub offered the best home wi-fi.

The router provided speeds that were 30% faster than its closest rival the BT Home Hub 4 and also beat similar products offered by Sky Broadband and TalkTalk, the researchers found, as shown in the table below.

Virgin Media BT Sky TalkTalk
Average speeds
using 2.4GHz default mode
80.8Mb 62Mb 13.5Mb 44.3Mb

However, the device has also been beset by a range of problems over the past few years.

Virgin Media have already issued a number of firmware patches to solve a number of very serious faults.

In 2012, for example, the provider released the R37 update, which included key fixes for a number of issues with the device including:

.

Virgin Media say they're working to develop new fixes for this latest error as their "highest priority".