[time-nuts] Misuse of NTP Servers by Hardware Manufactures

Enyo enyo.mail at gmail.com
Wed May 3 13:37:41 EDT 2006


I am frequently coming across hardware that contains hard coded or pre
defined lists of Stratum 1 servers as NTP time sources and I am looking to
gain some insight into how Stratum 1 server operators and the NTP community
are tackling this.

It seems to me manufactures large and small are doing this, this week I took
delivery of a Western Digital NetCentre which syncs directly to tick and
tock at USNO and a public access stratum 1 server in Japan.
I also had some very cheap small brand IP enabled cameras delivered at work
which have a pre-defined list of Stratum 1/2 servers.
I seem to be collecting hardware that exhibits this behaviour now! In the
case of my Western Digital NetCenter when asking for the ability to change
the time server it syncs I was told "this is a home product therefore does
not have this functionality", so home users need accurate time on devices
but can not have the ability to choose where they sync to? Why not just
leave it out all together? I have been forced to block the traffic at my
firewall, I take objection to it doing something I have no control over.

Does the misuse of Stratum 1 servers simply go unnoticed until traffic
levels become noticeably high (as in the case of the Netgear / D-Link
episodes)? How can hardware manufactures get away with breaching the rules
governing access on so many servers?

I hope you can give me a little information as a curious on looker to what
seems to be a growing problem for the NTP community.

Many Thanks

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