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A Word Of Warning...

mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

A Word Of Warning...

My retired mother has been with Plusnet since 2004 and not had any real problems.
This week, we believe the wifi on her Plusnet supplied router was compromised.   She is on a 10GB allowance (which she never goes anywhere near to the limit).  Her account has download 60GB since last Saturday, and Plusnet have slapped her with a £50 bill!!! (she only picks up emails once a week, so she only realized this was going on yesterday, when 10 emails from Plusnet arrived  all in sequence telling here they they were charging her for extra data and taking more money).
Plusnet (we feel) are being very tight over the £50 charge, although support were really good, they connected and changed he Wifi password (which was the default one the router came with).
I don't know how secure the default Plusnet routers WPA passwords are, but it may be something that's easily compromised by the sounds of it.   It's now a real shame, my mother is dead scared of the Internet and Plusnet's data charges and caps, it's more than likely going to turn her offline  Cry Cry  I did mention that perhaps she could move to unlimited, which would remove the worry, but with the £50 data charge and a increase in the monthly subscription, it's unlikely to wash.
41 REPLIES 41
PeeGee
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Registered: ‎05-04-2009

Re: A Word Of Warning...

First thing to do, then, is to go to the member centre and set the limit for additional monthly spend (login needed) to £0. This results in some speed restrictions when the limit is reached, but keeps the cost under control.
The default password is usually the unit serial number for recent equipment, so a "standard" format but I'm always surprised that people don't make any changes from defaults (though I'm happy to change things and find what got screwed as a result Shocked ), though that may be from a lack of understanding the potential problems.
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

It wouldn't let me do that, £0 was invalid (as was £5), I had to set it to something over £50!!!
This has left both of us feeling cheated by Plusnet.  Only last week, they diddled me out of money on the phone side of things (ticket 65414991)  (I did eventually get it refunded by providing evidence that services weren't being removed their end when requested).
I guess this is the new BT-Plusnet, rather than the Plusnet I joined up to 10 years ago.
PeeGee
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Re: A Word Of Warning...

Quote from: ClashcityRocker
It wouldn't let me do that, £0 was invalid (as was £5), I had to set it to something over £50!!!

That does surprise me, as I set my level to £0, though it was relatively recently when I went above 5GB halfway through the month for the first time and got close to 8.5GB by the end  Cool
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

If the account was set to auto upgrade £5 every time it went over, then fault lies with the customer, so who ever managed it.  Even if the wifi pw was the default, it is random numbers and letters so unless someone has seen it, then its near impossible to guess it.  More likely the password was disabled and you now have a neighbour next door to her leeching.  Time to knock on doors.
So you have door keys do you leave them in the door?  Her router is the door, make it safe.
Unvalued customer since 2001 funding cheap internet for others / DSL/Fibre house move 24 month regrade from 8th May 2017
mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

No WPA was definitely set on the router.  It came with it already set, and a funky card with a QR code to set it up, which was stored away safely.
Plusnet support connected via my mothers laptop last night, confirmed WPA was already in use, and changed the password for her.
The account has never been intentionally set to auto upgrade, that must be the default behavior for accounts.
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PeeGee
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Re: A Word Of Warning...

Quote from: ClashcityRocker
The account has never been intentionally set to auto upgrade, that must be the default behavior for accounts.

I believe that is the default, with no upper limit set on the charges Cry
Strictly, I don't think it is an "upgrade" but a "purchase additional bandwidth this month".
Edit: As the encryption was set, has the computer been checked for malware? Does the router have a mechanism for logging traffic, which is turned on so that the volume of data through the router can be checked for source?
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

Her computer has upto date Kaspersky (I get free home licenses from work), the only other devices around are an Android phone and an Android tablet.  I checked both of their data usages, and they were fine.
The data usage has dropped back to the normal 100Mb/day she normally used, now the Wifi password was changed, which is telling.....
PeeGee
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Re: A Word Of Warning...

Good Smiley  That extra bit of info re: usage suggests things are now under control, though you could try setting a £0 limit again?
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎08-06-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

You'll have to wait until the billing cycle completes before you can drop the limit down to 0.
PeeGee
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Re: A Word Of Warning...

Barry,
From what has gone before, it appears the limit was active at the last billing cycle, so the change can be requested now but will become active at the next billing cycle - though that is what I expect you intended  Wink
Plusnet Fibre (Sep 2014), Essentials (Feb 2013); ADSL (Apr 2009); Customer since Jan 2004 (on 28kb dial-up)
Using a TP-Link Archer VR600 modem-router.
MJN
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Registered: ‎26-08-2010

Re: A Word Of Warning...

Quote from: ClashcityRocker
It wouldn't let me do that, £0 was invalid (as was £5), I had to set it to something over £50!!!

Definitely something amiss there. Like many, mine is set to £0.
That'd be worth pursuing with PN to dig a little deeper as obviously if it hadn't forced such a high amount your mother wouldn't be paying out so much.
Mathew
mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

I'm wondering if it USED to be no-cap, and because she has been a customer for 9 years it's a problem that only affects older accounts, newer accounts have a cap added automatically.
If so, that seems wrong, as like she said, it was only by chance she went on and collected her email, who knows how much the bill may have been if she hadn't  Quite easily hundreds of pounds, which for a pensioner is very worrying.
On a more technical note, there are quite clearly some failings on the Plusnet provided router side of things.
Firstly, the default SSID mentions Plusnet, which if someone wanted to hack a wifi point, you have already basically told them what model router that person is using....   Secondly, we really don't know that the WPA keys are truly random.  Sure they look random, but are they reallyHuh
I have mitigated some of the issues, already the WPA password was changed, I have also changed the SSID.  I have also setup mail forwards to Gmail, so all her email goes to her Android phone and tablet ( as the infrequent mail collection is what allowed the charge to escalate), I also updated the email address on her Plusnet account to be her GMail account, and not her Plusnet account.
MJN
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Re: A Word Of Warning...

What does the monthly usage breakdown look like?
Be very careful jumping to conclusions - the only fact so far is that the limit has been breached. It is pure speculation that the wireless was compromised.
mgillespie
Grafter
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎08-04-2007

Re: A Word Of Warning...

There are other facts.

  • Previous months never go above 4GB for the entire month.

  • Since last Saturday 80GB has been downloaded (50GB of that chargable).

  • Since changing wifi passwords, usage is back to normal.