Bluetooth flaws leave billions of devices open to attacks

Adjust Comment Print

"Malware exploiting the attack vector may be particularly virulent by passing peer-to-peer and jumping laterally, infecting adjacent devices when Bluetooth is switched on". They then choose a device (even if it's not in "discoverable" mode) and obtain its MAC address, an identifier which they can use to probe the device and determine its operating system.

At least eight zero-day related vulnerabilities were found on the Bluetooth technology, a major IoT security company revealed. "All it requires is a device or a user to have Bluetooth on", Nadir Izrael, CTO of Armis, told Gizmodo.

Armis said that it first reported the vulnerabilities to Google, Microsoft and Linux in April and patches have now been released as part of vendors' regular scheduled updates.

BlueBorne targets computers, mobile phones, smart TVs, digital assistants, smartwatches, sound systems, and medical devices. It's airborne nature also means that it is often targeting the weakest spot in the defense strategy for most modern networks, the post said. With BlueBorne, attackers can gain full control right from the start.

Basically, it's a hacker's dream.

Yes, you thought you were safe after the "Bluejacking" window of the early days was closed (come on - you all did it) but now it seems you could be a victim and never even know.

At Armis Labs, Ben Seri and Gregory Vishnepolsky are the two researchers who discussed the vulnerabilities in modern Bluetooth stacks-and devices with Bluetooth capabilities were estimated at over 8.2 billion, according to the Armis site's overview.

And BlueBorne may not be the only airborne computer virus, but just the one that has been found. Tuesday's announcement marks the agreed-upon coordinated disclosure date, with one exception: Armis says it attempted to contact Samsung - which makes the Linux-based Tizen OS and also uses Android extensively - on three separate occasions about the vulnerabilities, but did not hear back.

While, Apple has disclosed its vulnerability share in the iOS 10, as 89 percent among all the users. Microsoft also released an update recently to close this bug, and Google has also released protective patches for Nougat and Marshmallow with the September security update.

The experts discovered vulnerabilities allowing BlueBorne attacks in several implementations of Bluetooth, including Android, Windows, iOS, and Linux.

"Unlike the majority of attacks today, which rely on the internet, a BlueBorne attack spreads through the air". The vulnerability found in Apple's Low Energy Audio Protocol (LEAP), which works on top of Bluetooth, enables a remote code execution attack that could allow an attacker to silently take over a device. However, iPhones running iOS 10 are not in danger from this attack vector.

Microsoft had already issued updates on 11 July. You can check its status here.

The ideal way to protect yourself from all these hacks is to keep your devices updated. Alongside that, any Linux device running BlueZ or version 3.3-rc1 are affected.