TR-069: How to turn off the back-door in Exetel’s free ZTE modem

Two weeks ago we switched our Internet and copper phone-line to the NBN grid. (you have no choice 18 months after your street is hooked up)

Our Exetel ISP send out a free ZTE modern on their 12 month contacts. (while oddly selling NetComm modems for $80+)

Turns out the ZTE modem they send out has an enter antime they like ‘service’ back-door called TR-069 (see the above video showing how it’s hacked) which uses port 7547.

I did a port scan on the new ZTE … holy gecko poop, an open port!!

https://www.grc.com/x/portprobe=7547

Frantic me posted on the Exetel forum asking how to turn TR-069 off – but they were no help.

  • Plan B, buy a better brand? Nah, just wasted booze money.
  • Plan C, I like the challenge using what’s at hand, so I cascaded our old ADSL router >> ZTE LAN to WAN on the ADSL router.

LAN to WAN >> All the ZTE can see is one LAN in use, even with a dozen devices connected behind ADSL router.

That got boring last night – one power board with too many bloody things plugged in … port test still failing and the ‘through speed’ seemed slower … so I ditched the ADSL router and did the following with success …

click to enlarge
  1. Make sure you have your Exetel VDSL password handy. (note: VoIP password is different)
  2. Back up the default Exetel ZTE modem settings to a safe place.
  3. WAN Settings >> WAN >> DSL Connection >> open Exetel_VDSL and note the factory settings.
  4. Then below it click “Create New Item”
  5. Copy everything in the Exetel_VDSL except for “Service List”
  6. In the new item select INTERNET_VoIP  (or INTERNET only if you don’t have VoIP)
  7. Make sure your user name and password are correct.
  8. BEFORE clicking “APPLY”, delete the original Exetel_VDSL version. It will clear without refreshing the page.
  9. Our ZTE still had the obsolete “Exetel_ADSL” settings which was deleted too. (only delete it when you’re 100% on the NBN)
  10. Now click APPLY on the new Exetel_VDSL copy.
  11. Reboot the router and make sure you still have internet access.
click to enlarge

NOTE: using fake info on the TR-069 page does NOT close the port.

It would have been nice to just have an on-off radio button in the TR-069 settings.

There’s must be a reason why Exetel sells better Netcomm’s. Being ZTE, and free, I still don’t trust these chicom things.

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2 Thoughts to “TR-069: How to turn off the back-door in Exetel’s free ZTE modem”

  1. Raff.

    I had to hack my Telstra Gateway Frontier modem / router to disable the same thing. Its labelled CWMP in that router. How to hack it etc are at https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/hack_technicolor

    I suspect most if not all new modem / routers especially those provided by ISPs have a similar port open for remote management.

  2. G’day Raff,
    I bought an unlocked TP-Link VR400 VDSL off Bumtree three weeks ago ($5) and it didn’t have a simple TR on-off button either … or VoIP … so I flipped it for $50 a few days after … $5 of that went towards a Bumtree Telstra C6300BD-1TLAUS. (the handy 3a-12v psu was worth the drive)

    Reading Whirlpool, turned out it has two admin areas as well. One for the dummies and one for Telstra. I didn’t notice any CWMP while in the hidden admin (I’ve since turfed the cable router) … but that’s the point .. all this hidden stuff going on.

    I’ve never had a router OpenWRT would work on – but sounds like fun 🙂

    How bloody hard is it for those like ZTE to have a simple TR-069 on/off switch. If ZTE is so secure, then I have to wonder why my ISP is / was selling Netcomms too. ZTE even disable the USB media port on these free versions. Bloody chicoms.

    I hope you and the family are doing well.
    Cheers,
    Rodney 🙂

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