The Netgear company is introducing account enforcement on its switches. With the update to firmware version 10.5.8, GC108P and GC108PP switch series devices must be registered to use all features. Retroactively, this will even apply until firmware 10.5.4.
What the account constraint means
If you do not create a Netgear account, you will not be able to use all the features of the switches’ graphical browser interface. The manufacturer confirmed the new regulation of a mandatory account registration with a press release on the firmware update. The regulation also applies to devices running at least firmware 10.5.4.
If an account registration fails to take place, users will still be able to use only the limited range of functions. For unregistered devices, admins can use all functions of the graphical user interface three times, after which a function lockout occurs.
Which functions will be locked?
Locked functions include system information, IP configuration, memory log, Power over Ethernet configuration details, power supply information, factory reset, firmware updates, firmware file management, configuration file upload and download, and remote diagnostics activation.
To use all of these features, a Netgear account must be created and the device must be connected to the user account. Creating the account means that Netgear will collect a lot of data. The manufacturer describes which data is collected in the Data Protection Statement. This data includes, for example, IP address, device IDs, advertising IDs, approximate geographic location, online IDs, and other technical data.
According to Netgear, the switches comply with EU data protection regulations and can still be adjusted via the configuration files. This is because this function is not affected by the lockout. The firmware 10.5.8 is supposed to fix software errors in addition to the introduction of the function restrictions.