Customer Review

300 of 318 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, and convient, but insecure unless you're careful, 28 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Seagate Wireless Plus 1TB Portable Mobile Device Storage with built-in WiFi (Personal Computers)
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I'll do this review in two parts; basic observations first, then a more technical appraisal.

As a small, neat 1TB external HDD which can also be accessed via wifi, it does its job nicely. I was able to access and stream media on it using my Android phone and tablet and other DNLA streaming devices (such as a PS3). I was able to connect it to my laptop via USB, and use it as a 1TB USB hard drive, as you'd expect. (When connected via USB, the wifi facility is automatically disabled, so it acts as a "dumb drive").

The device showed good battery life, and can be charged via USB or the supplied charger (which is just a 2A USB charger, anyway, so can also be used for any other device that can be powered by USB).

When used with wifi, it creates its own wifi network, to which clients can connect. (Beware - the network starts out with no encryption or authentication, meaning any nearby users can also access your files - you'll want to enable WPA (set a password) immediately!)

I initially had trouble getting it to connect to my existing wifi network; this was with my old Linksys WRT54G router. However, I tried again with the new TP-Link access point I just installed, and was able to get the Seagate drive to connect to my network, automatically obtaining an IP via DHCP. However, it did not remember this between reboots; when I next booted it, I had to connect to its wifi and give it the details again, which is annoying if you want to have it permanently connected to your wifi network as a NAS (network attached storage) device, but it's evident that the device is mostly targetted towards people using mobile devices when out and about. Even when connected to an existing network, it continues to provide its own network, and will allow clients connected to it to route traffic through it. There appears to be no way to stop it providing its own wifi network if you want to use it only as a NAS on an existing network.

Now, for the more technical parts. When you connect to the wifi network provided by the device, it was on 172.25.0.1 for me, and it gave my client 172.25.0.175.

Security-wise, be careful: the default network it offers you carries no authentication, therefore anyone could access it. More worryingly, it offers telnet (a way to access the underlying system on the device and execute commands) with a default username and password of "root" and "goflex" (the latter reflecting that this product is effectively a new version of
Seagate's previous GoFlex range with a different name).

Once you have access to the device, you can set a password (which is setting up WPA-PSK), providing a password (be careful, the device doesn't ask you to repeat the password, so if you typo it, you might lock yourself out, which would be irritating). However, setting that password has no effect on the ability to telnet to the device with the previously-mentioned credentials. You can, however, change the root password using the standard "passwd" Linux command - but typical users, at whom this product appears to be aimed, should not be expected to know how to do this; they obviously won't, thereby leaving them with a device which is horrendously insecure if connected to any other wifi network.

As telnetting in is accessing the Linux-based system which powers the device as root, you have the ability to do whatever you like to the underlying system. The root filesystem is a 100MB jffs2 filesystem (with ~47MB free) mounted read-write, and a file I created on it as a test remained after a reboot of the device. This leads me to believe it would be rather trivial to make the device non-functional. It would also likely be easy to extend the device to do new things it doesn't currently do, though, so it may be of interest to those wanting to play with it.

It's important to understand that anyone who can connect to the device (either via the (default-unprotected) wifi network it presents, or via a wifi network you connect it to) has essentially unlimited access to your files on the device, and ability to stop the device working, unless you've changed the password using a method that average users will not use. This would lead me to make a goatse-based analogy of the device's security, if such a thing wouldn't be frowned upon in a civilised review.

The underlying hardware is an ARMv7 Processor at 298.32 BogoMIPS, with a total of 255488 kB RAM - whilst mine is operating, it showed 138980 kB as free.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Feb 2013 20:24:36 GMT
E. L. Wisty says:
Quite worrying. Thanks for the heads up on security David.

Posted on 12 Apr 2013 14:59:02 BDT
hi, are you able to tell me how to change the root password please

Posted on 7 Jun 2013 05:40:29 BDT
Great review - especially the heads-up on the security aspects. Might have bought one otherwise and been unaware.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jun 2013 10:13:13 BDT
I believe the standard Unix 'passwd' utility is present, so you can telnet to the device, then just run 'passwd' to change the password to something else.

Posted on 11 Jun 2013 18:32:47 BDT
Robert Hall says:
How far away can the drive be away from say a laptop or an Ipad? I appreciate your comments.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 14:48:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jun 2013 14:48:53 BDT
It's hard to say - it will vary depending on several factors (the devices you're using, background interference from other devices on/near the same frequency, any walls in between (and their composition) etc. Typical wifi ranges are around 50-75 feet I'd say; since there's no external aerial, and it has probably not been designed to aim for long range coverage, I'd hazard a guess at around 20-30 feet. That is fairly much semi-educated guesswork, though!

Posted on 28 Jul 2013 12:18:39 BDT
The Amazon blurb says this device has an USB 3 adapter. What does that mean? Is it an external accessory?

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jul 2013 08:23:23 BDT
It means it supports version 3.0 of the USB spec, "Super Speed", allowing data transfer rates of up to 4 Gbit/s when used with devices which support USB 3.0; it's backwards compatible, so if your device doesn't support USB 3.0, it'll still work, just with a slower transfer rate.

Posted on 12 Oct 2013 09:44:31 BDT
WW says:
Can you upload wirelessly FROM your iPad to the device, or can you only access/download files that are on the device onto your viewing platform?

Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Nov 2013 10:50:43 GMT
You should definitely be able to upload.
My worry is can we keep this drive always running 24X7 and will that be accessible of internet (like my personal cloud) so I can access it on internet everywhere in the world (and share links to friends to my media) - or for that purpose I should buy a dedicated NAS with personal cloud support?
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

David Precious
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Stevenage, Herts, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 416