BlueBorne attack threatens nearly every Bluetooth device

Posted September 13, 2017

BlueBorne is a set of eight flaws that collectively can be used to attack iOS, Android, WIndows and macOS devices. Dubbed Blueborne, the attack works by masquerading as a Bluetooth device and exploiting weaknesses in the protocol to deploy malicious code, similar to the Broadcom Wi-Fi attack disclosed earlier this year.

The nine vulnerabilities discovered by Armis are now functional and can be fully exploited.

Armis security has identified a new vulnerability in computers and mobile devices that leaves them susceptible to attack via Bluetooth. Armis told numerous affected tech companies about the flaws well before informing the public-an approach known in the industry as responsible disclosure-so they've had a chance to push out patches.

Researchers said that, through a Bluetooth connection, the vulnerability resides in the Bluetooth Network Encapsulation Protocol (BNEP) service permits mobile data sharing. Unlike the common misconception, Bluetooth enabled devices are constantly searching for incoming connections from any devices, and not only those they have been paired with. Google is issuing a security patch for Android 7 Nougat and Android 6 Marshmallow and is now notifying manufacturers to push the update out ASAP. An attacker can access your computer, phones, and IoT devices. Google is patching the problem for devices running Android 4.4.4 KitKat and later, which covers the vast majority of active Android devices. Armis notes that all devices running on iOS 9.3.5 and above are vulnerable, but fortunately, Apple has released a patch for this with iOS 10, fixing all issues. Now, there's another one in the market that poses an even serious threat to all devices equipped with Bluetooth.

If you are using the Bluetooth technology of your smartphone, it is advisable to be vigilant: a critical flaw has been discovered, and, especially, the details have been made public on the 12th of September 2017 by the security firm Armis.

Bluetooth security risks are not a new thing, though most past attacks have involved misconfiguration or the lack of PIN authentication to secure a Bluetooth connection.

Armis Labs has now released warning videos, telling of the danger of BlueBorne.

"Or when you start looking at your printers, the new TV's, new watches, home system, the medical appliances - they don't tend to get updated because they just sit there and people forget about them", he said. For example, a delivery person dropping a package at a bank could carry weaponized code on a BlueTooth-enabled device. We believe that platform vendors were notified of the issues some time ago and have either already released patches or are in the process of doing so.

Microsoft has begun sending out security patches to all Windows versions as of 10 a.m., September 12, putting the details available online. It has never been a bad idea to keep Bluetooth turned off by default and to turn it on only when needed-at least on Android phones, the large percentage of which still broadcast privacy-compromising MAC addresses for anyone within radio range to view. So, update your all devices regularly.

In short, install the latest updates for everything, and unless you're sure that your devices have been updated with a fix, it might be a good idea to turn off Bluetooth for now.