Last Updated: 21st December, 2020
Bluetooth Vulnerabilities: Although Bluetooth has revolutionized hands-free communications, especially in terms of security, it is not without its pitfalls. Bluetooth has a legacy of vulnerabilities, which continue to put companies at risk of a major breach of security. The vulnerabilities provide an entry point for attackers to read encrypted conversations, disable and/or deadlock devices, and even remotely take over devices.
Risks Of Bluetooth Attacks
In recent years, there have been many fascinating Bluetooth vulnerability discoveries and the complexity of the attacks can only grow. Interestingly, in order to carry out their attacks, hackers no longer need to be near the units.
Bluetooth was designed for short-range communications, but because they contain radios, cyber thieves can exploit a system remotely and then leverage that system’s Bluetooth interface to launch an attack. In this capacity, it is possible for an attacker to not only run these attacks remotely while in close proximity, but also conducts them from much further away using low-cost equipment.
As a result of an attacker’s ability to implement remote attacks via radio, the increasing threat from Bluetooth devices to network security is a dominant concern for security teams. Over here are the top eight recent Bluetooth vulnerability discoveries that organizations have had to address:
BIAS (Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS) – Earlier this year, a new Bluetooth flaw dubbed BIAS was discovered with the potential to expose billions of devices to hackers. BIAS allows cyber-criminals to create an authenticated Bluetooth connection between two paired devices without needing a key.
The attacker is able to take over communication between the two devices by impersonating either end such as a mouse or a keyboard, giving the intruder inside access to the targeted device. Once inside, the masquerading attacker can then implement malicious exploits like stealing or corrupting data.
BleedingBit – The attacker can leverage Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) implementation vulnerabilities for remote code execution and total machine take over to infiltrate networks and inject ransomware.
BlueBorne – An attacker can actuate carefully constructed packets to cause buffer overflows which can be exploited for code execution. The attacker can then take over a machine running Bluetooth Classic and employ it as a potential entry point for ransomware.
Bluetooth Denial of Service (DoS) Via Inquiry Flood – This DoS attack targets BLE devices, running down their batteries and preventing them from answering other requests from legitimate devices. This concerns, particularly for medical devices being used in life-saving situations.
Fixed Coordinate Invalid Curve Attack – Hackers can crack the encryption key for both Bluetooth and BLE because of subtle flaws in the Elliptic Curve Diffie- Hellman key exchange process. Attackers can imitate devices, inject commands and penetrate for additional security flaws.
KNOB (Key Negotiation of Bluetooth) – An attacker can crack encryption on a Bluetooth conversation and then snoop to see all encrypted traffic as if it was plain text. The attacker can erase or inject packets, and ransom or publish the captured details.
Malicious Applications Leveraging Radio Frequency Interfaces – Leveraging a downloaded app, a cyber criminal can access an iPhone’s camera and microphone without permission. The attacker can subsequently record and exfiltrate audio and video, and then ransom or publish the compromised information.
Sweyntooth – An attacker within radio range can trigger deadlocks, crashes and buffer overflows or completely detour security by transmitting faulty packets over the air. This result in the crash of devices like medical equipment, potentially causing harm to patients, or other IoT connected devices in offices or homes.
Countering Bluetooth Exploits
The aforementioned Bluetooth vulnerabilities weren’t the first and undoubtedly won’t be the last. Accordingly, how can organizations safeguard their networks from falling prey to present and future Bluetooth attacks? It won’t be straightforward. Bluetooth is a software and thus will likely never be vulnerability-free.
Meanwhile, Bluetooth devices are getting smaller and more difficult to prevent from entering secure facilities. As a result, organizations need to implement stringent Bluetooth guidelines and adopt a robust security posture. This includes having complete visibility to identify and recognize what devices are in their facilities and infrastructure.
It is equally crucial to remove unnecessary devices, components and interfaces, and to be cautious and continuously patch vulnerable devices and components. As with any security threat, vigilance and rapid detection are key in preventing attacks and/or limiting potential damage.