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How to Securely Reset Your Password on a NetGuardian RTU

By Andrew Erickson

December 8, 2021


Today, I spoke to Andy Yang, an engineer on the DPS Technical Support team. I asked about some of the most common types of support calls he handles...

Forgetting Your Password is Very Common - Especially in Large Organizations

As a former Information Systems Analyst at a government agency, I was all too familiar with Andy's response:

"The most common tech support call I get is about lost or forgotten passwords."

Part of my government work was to provide end-user support. There wasn't a day that passed that I didn't get at least one call to reset a user password.

Of course, in an Active Directory domain environment, password resets were simple. My users were able to log back in within moments after the call was initiated.

Truly Secure Products Don't Have Backdoors or Remote Password Resets

The common denominator why clients need password resets? It's limited personnel. People retire, promote, or abruptly become unavailable. It's a reality that every organization will eventually face.

Having a backdoor password in these situations would make for a quick fix. Connecting remotely and providing a password override also produces a swift remedy. If your RTU has this logic programmed - you are at risk. There's always a price to be paid for convenience.

Hackers and others with malicious intent are regularly seeking vulnerabilities. They increasingly penetrate networks with nefarious intent. A backdoor password makes for an easy target to exploit.

Whether you're a telco, a power utility, government agency, a railroad, or just about any other large entity, you're a potential target for terrorism and other threats.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself by making good purchasing choices...

DPS RTUs Allow for Password Resets Without Creating Unacceptable Security Risks

Most of our clients enforce strict network security practices. It's completely understandable. Remote telemetry units (RTU) are used to monitor all of their mission-critical devices. It's one of many reasons why clients choose DPS. They absolutely cannot risk introducing vulnerability into their systems.

For DPS RTUs, lost-password scenarios have only one remedy - factory reset. It may not be what the client wants to hear at that exact moment. However, it does provide for maximum security.

When RTU configuration files are downloaded and saved ahead of time, the factory-reset process is pretty painless. Your password is reset, you can restore your config in a few clicks, and you're back in operation with a known password.

Centralize Your Passwords and Increase Your Security With RADIUS Logon Compatibility

If you are seeking additional layers of security, and a way to more elegantly maintain passwords without forgetting, you have options. The NetGuardian 832A G5 RTU has the ability to utilize the RADIUS protocol.

"RADIUS or Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service protocol was developed by Livingston Enterprises, Inc. It provides centralized authentication, authorization, and accounting management. Using the client/server format, RADIUS passes user information to designated servers and acts on the response that is returned."

If your organization is large, RADIUS gives you a simple way to maintain access to your RTUs. Since all authentication requests are handled by the central server and not the devices themselves, updating user profiles and access permissions only has to be done in one place. Just as I would use Active Directory to reset my user's passwords and assign them to permission groups, RADIUS works in a similar manner.

But RADIUS is more than an easy way to manage user access to your devices. It introduces the ability to account for all attempts at access, authorization, and user activities. This is a must-have for companies implementing strict security procedures.

Here is a brief list of key advantages RADIUS on the NetGuardian 832A G5 can provide:

  1. Virtually unlimited users - With RADIUS, the number of user logins you can support is huge. Most likely, you will never run out.
  2. Centralized management - You manage your logins from your central RADIUS server. Never worry about updating any single remote. If an employee leaves your company, you can revoke their access rights very easily.
  3. Integration with enterprise management - When alarm remotes use the same RADIUS authentication method as your other important gear, you reduce the complexity of managing your devices. It's always easier to manage a single umbrella than it is to keep track of several unrelated systems.
  4. User Login Accounting - Failed login attempts are logged allowing you to quickly identify potential unauthorized access attempts.

Implement Secure Remote Monitoring at Your Location

The NetGuardian 832A G5 provides you with a secure solution for your remote telemetry needs. It's capable of using SNMPv3 adding encryption for the secure transmission of your data. Here are some highlights the NetGuardian 832A G5 offers:

  • RADIUS Server Compatibility
  • GigE dual SFP fiber option
  • Supports SNMP v1, v2c, & v3 (Traps & Informs, responding to GETs and SETs)
  • HTTPS option for secure encryption on Web interface
  • 32 discrete alarms, 32 ping alarms, 8 analog alarms and 8 control relays
  • Web interface: monitor without a master
  • Ability to expand to 176 discretes/32 control relays with NetGuardian Expansion Units
  • 2-year hardware warranty
  • 30-Day No-risk money-back guarantee

DPS Manufactures RTUs That Meet Your Organization's Security Specs

At DPS, we know that - regardless of your company size - security matters. DPS manufactures secure custom remote monitoring units for any size solution you may need. We currently have thousands of companies and agencies that trust us for their monitoring requirements.

Our sales engineers (including me!) are available to assist in your selection or answer any questions you have. Call me today at 559-454-1600 or email me at sales@dpstele.com

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and opt...