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IoT security done "wrong", but it works?

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Joe User    492

I have some family members about 1500 miles away who now have a small group of WiFi IoT devices, most of them from reputable companies (mostly Amazon and Samsung devices), connected directly to their network.  They also have a desktop, two laptops, a few tablets and phones.

 

I recommended that they segment the IoT devices, showed them some videos about why, and they agree. However, they're not going to spend money on new routers and access points just to get a VLAN working, and I'm too far away to support their network if they cobble together something. So the equipment really has to be consumer grade. They have a router/modem from the CableCo, and, in storage, an older router that's still supported.

 

Someone suggested using the older router, running double NAT, connect the IoT devices to it and calling it a day.   The security side of me is sighing while the practical side of me thinks it's better than nothing.

 

So, I'm looking for opinions. I know NAT isn't really a firewall, but it does work pretty well. Do I tell them to go for it?  Some security is better than none. Do I tell them to just leave well enough alone? It's not worth the trouble.  Is there another option that I've overlooked?

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sc302    1,779

It doesn't have to be consumer grade.  You can get ubiquiti (relatively cheap), you can use pfsense (relatively free).  

 

You can use any cheap router to achieve your double nat (~$20-40) if that is what you really want.

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+BudMan    3,615

You understand the downstream router can talk to everything that is on the upstream network right..  Its just the device on the upstream network wouldn't be able to create connections to the downstream without a port forward.

 

If you were going to do that the upstream router would be where the iot devices would be...   If downstream they might not be able to find them if they are just searching their local network, but they would be able to talk to them..  Unless you could create firewall rule in this downstream router where it could only send traffic to upstream routers IP... I which I have never seen viable in soho routers..

 

Its not good setup, but guess its better than nothing... Why not just put their iot ###### on the "guest" network of the wifi router?  This is about the same sort of half ass solution.. That comes with its own problems..  Think I mentioned in the other thread its time that this consumer stuff started allowing for actual vlans, these flat networks are just begging for some new big IOT based ransomware sort of attack... Where some iot devices gets compromised and then moves to everything else on the network, things get taken down, files get encrypted, etc. etc..

 

The cheapest way to get actual vlan support would be to use soho wifi router(s) that can run say dd-wrt.. And then create actual vlans.. Worse case is you would also need a vlan capable switch maybe - but these days those can be had for like $40..  But depending on what your all connecting and where everything is located and etc..

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Joe User    492
2 hours ago, BudMan said:

You understand the downstream router can talk to everything that is on the upstream network right..  Its just the device on the upstream network wouldn't be able to create connections to the downstream without a port forward.

 

If you were going to do that the upstream router would be where the iot devices would be...   If downstream they might not be able to find them if they are just searching their local network, but they would be able to talk to them..  Unless you could create firewall rule in this downstream router where it could only send traffic to upstream routers IP... I which I have never seen viable in soho routers..

 

Its not good setup, but guess its better than nothing... Why not just put their iot ###### on the "guest" network of the wifi router?  This is about the same sort of half ass solution.. That comes with its own problems..  Think I mentioned in the other thread its time that this consumer stuff started allowing for actual vlans, these flat networks are just begging for some new big IOT based ransomware sort of attack... Where some iot devices gets compromised and then moves to everything else on the network, things get taken down, files get encrypted, etc. etc..

 

The cheapest way to get actual vlan support would be to use soho wifi router(s) that can run say dd-wrt.. And then create actual vlans.. Worse case is you would also need a vlan capable switch maybe - but these days those can be had for like $40..  But depending on what your all connecting and where everything is located and etc..

Unfortunately the guest network on their router doesn't seem to work well, but that might be the best solution for them. 

 

Personally, if it were me I  would go with DD-WRT or Tomato and call it a day, but I've used them and it's not the easiest setup. I don't want to have to support their network from half way across the country by phone. I don't want to support their network at all, honestly, but they're family.

 

I agree with you completely about the flat networks. Why Asus, Linksys and Netgear don't support VLANs as an IoT feature is beyond me.

 

3 hours ago, sc302 said:

It doesn't have to be consumer grade.  You can get ubiquiti (relatively cheap), you can use pfsense (relatively free).  

 

You can use any cheap router to achieve your double nat (~$20-40) if that is what you really want.

They're cheap, not really technically inclined and want to use the routers they have.  I'm going to tell them to try the guest network first, it doesn't have a lot of features, but it might be good enough.

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sc302    1,779
8 minutes ago, Joe User said:

Unfortunately the guest network on their router doesn't seem to work well, but that might be the best solution for them. 

 

Personally, if it were me I  would go with DD-WRT or Tomato and call it a day, but I've used them and it's not the easiest setup. I don't want to have to support their network from half way across the country by phone. I don't want to support their network at all, honestly, but they're family.

 

I agree with you completely about the flat networks. Why Asus, Linksys and Netgear don't support VLANs as an IoT feature is beyond me.

 

They're cheap, not really technically inclined and want to use the routers they have.  I'm going to tell them to try the guest network first, it doesn't have a lot of features, but it might be good enough.

where are they located.  perhaps you could utilize a neowinian to help you/them out.

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Joe User    492
53 minutes ago, sc302 said:

where are they located.  perhaps you could utilize a neowinian to help you/them out.

Good idea. I'll ask them if they're willing to outsource :)

 

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+BudMan    3,615
3 hours ago, Joe User said:

I don't want to have to support their network from half way across the country by phone.

What you "could" do then is setup unifi stuff.. Now you can manage their site via the controller, could even be at your house, or in the cloud, etc.  Or just remote into it if on their network via a cloudkey.. Now you have pretty much full insite into what is going on.  You can manage all the vlans and wifi from simple gui, etc.

 

Something like a unifi dream machine - would be drop in replacement for whatever ###### soho thing they are running now..  Its not all that cheap, but its not crazy pricey either since its full solution.. That can be expanded if needed, etc. add some switches, or other AP if needed..

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Joe User    492

Well, I was told "This is getting too complicated", so for now, he's going to either do nothing or run guest mode. I'll visit in the spring and most likely build it out with DD-WRT or the like.

 

 

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+BudMan    3,615

Do you tell your doctor you can not get the heart surgery because it sounds "too" complicated... What about your mechanic when he needs to change out your transmission when your car wont go reverse - do you tell him yeah thats sounds too complicated.. Lets just skip that..

 

There is nothing at all complicated about setting up vlans.. Just because the user doesn't get it, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done if you have someone doing it for you..

 

Don't give him any of the details.. Just tell him buy the dream machine and you will set it up so its more secure.. Done..

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Mindovermaster    2,754

You can't fix stupid. You can't fix a neutered dog you can't fix a garage door and hey, you can't fix stupid

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Joe User    492
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, BudMan said:

Do you tell your doctor you can not get the heart surgery because it sounds "too" complicated... What about your mechanic when he needs to change out your transmission when your car wont go reverse - do you tell him yeah thats sounds too complicated.. Lets just skip that..

 

There is nothing at all complicated about setting up vlans.. Just because the user doesn't get it, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done if you have someone doing it for you..

 

Don't give him any of the details.. Just tell him buy the dream machine and you will set it up so its more secure.. Done..

His issue isn't an emergency; It's a best practice.  His computers are still firewalled at the OS level from the IoT devices. I still don't like it though.  He's not replacing the home router, it's a Cable Co combo deal, phone/Internet/WiFi router/modem. I'm going to Skype him and we'll go over the settings and set up guest mode for the IoT stuff for now.

 

I did have an idea to use the older router, install Tomato and use it to create a new network for his PCs only and put it in static routing mode. I'll disable NAT, turn on the firewall and that should do it.

 

 

Edited by Joe User
me english gooder now

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+BudMan    3,615
2 hours ago, Joe User said:

I'll disable NAT, turn on the firewall and that should do it.

How do you think this upstream router is going to route those downstream networks to the internet?  Never seen a soho router have that feature.. It will only nat its own lan network.  You going to put dd-wrt on the upstream router?

 

Not sure how you think that is going to isolate your normal network from your iot stuff?  Are you going to firewall on the downstream and prevent clients from talking to the upstream network other than the upstream routers IP?

 

I agree with you its not an emergency - billions of users are all on 1 flat network with all kinds of different IOT devices, etc...  But it really is a sad state of affairs for the consumer networking gear doesn't allow for basic security practices that could be make quite easy for the user to understand via simple gui to isolate different ports and ssids via just allowing for lan to be a private vlan and letting users set what devices could talk to other devices. And or actually vlaning and letting them create firewall rules between the vlans.

 

Currently the only way to correctly do this is use gear that allows for it - which isn't really geared towards the every day users understanding.

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Joe User    492
54 minutes ago, BudMan said:

How do you think this upstream router is going to route those downstream networks to the internet?  Never seen a soho router have that feature.. It will only nat its own lan network.  You going to put dd-wrt on the upstream router?

 

Not sure how you think that is going to isolate your normal network from your iot stuff?  Are you going to firewall on the downstream and prevent clients from talking to the upstream network other than the upstream routers IP?

 

I agree with you its not an emergency - billions of users are all on 1 flat network with all kinds of different IOT devices, etc...  But it really is a sad state of affairs for the consumer networking gear doesn't allow for basic security practices that could be make quite easy for the user to understand via simple gui to isolate different ports and ssids via just allowing for lan to be a private vlan and letting users set what devices could talk to other devices. And or actually vlaning and letting them create firewall rules between the vlans.

 

Currently the only way to correctly do this is use gear that allows for it - which isn't really geared towards the every day users understanding.

That's how I run my test network at home. Standard ASUS AC routers, they'll pass everything through the NAT gateway as long as it's in the routing table. (I'm hoping the CableCo router is similar). On the ASUS I usually use Merlin firmware, which is  stock++, sometimes FreshTomato, which is more like DD-WRT but with more quality control.

 

192.168.0.x and 192.168.1.x as examples. .0.x is the original network, .1.x is the secured network. Like you suggested, firewall on the .1.x says to drop everything inbound with an origin from the 0.x network except from the gateway. Then configure the Windows firewall as a backup to that.

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+BudMan    3,615

Good luck... 3rd party does this - but never seen any stock firmware do it..

 

Quote

.1.x says to drop everything inbound with an origin from the 0.x network except from the gateway. Then configure the Windows firewall as a backup to that.

 

 

So your windows firewall is doing the work.. You need to block the .1 from talking to anything in the .0 other than the gateway.

 

If your running 3rd party you should actually be able to do vlans..

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Joe User    492
On 1/4/2020 at 6:26 AM, BudMan said:

Good luck... 3rd party does this - but never seen any stock firmware do it..

 

 

So your windows firewall is doing the work.. You need to block the .1 from talking to anything in the .0 other than the gateway.

 

If your running 3rd party you should actually be able to do vlans..

After further testing, you're right. I realized I didn't have stock firmware on there and I already had rules I set up a while ago and forgot about.

 

I'm going to lean on them to get a new router and get their cable company modem working as a passthrough.

 

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+BudMan    3,615
2 hours ago, Joe User said:

I'm going to lean on them to get a new router

That is the best option to be honest..  Currently the only thing I know of on the market not having to do 3rd party firmware to actually do it correctly would be the dream machine from unifi..

 

Unless you go with sep router and AP..  And a managed switch.  This can be done on a budget - but it does get a bit more complicated, unless you do this sort of thing - then its childs play.

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