Google’s new router is indeed innovative. It has thirteen antennas, switches constantly to find the best channel, and more. However, it does automatic updates and monitoring from the Google mothership, and apparently quite a bit of seriously creepy snooping around. End users have no control over what Google does, what it looks at, and what data it sends home. Cringely says, if you’re ok with Google having complete access to your network, then go for it. He’s not so sure, saying “Whether Google is the best outfit to trust with that tuning and those updates is another story.”
Comments to his article from a Google router tester are illuminating and disturbing. The Google router tricks vpns and appears to take special interest in what it thought were Russian and Chinese networks. Inquiring minds want to know if the router is just more of Google and NSA being embedded together.
I was an evaluator for a third party of the box. Although all of my report is not for public consumption, here’s some highlights I found. Please note that this could change at any time since Google can update all or any of their routers:
1. DNS was fixed to Google public DNS. You had no choice.
2. Certificates go through Google.
3. VPNs appear to have a relay through Google that is undetectable to the VPN software end points. I found a latency between two end points on the router that could not be explained.
4. We placed it behind a firewall and into 9./26./29./30./ (I’ve only shown the IP V4 examples) networks to see what it would do when it found itself inside a “simulated” IBM, AT&T or DoD network on the wired side. We also tried Russian and Chinese IP V4 simulated networks. It went nuts transmitting discovery packets and some other encrypted payload packets. I believe that if your network addressing or topology is of interest, they’ll go after it through the wired connection.
I suspect they’ll insert advertising in the future and force search engine and storage selection.
I’d firewall it from any wired networks with devices performing sensitive functions or containing sensitive data.
Is this a router or spyware?