Sci-tech

IoT attack vector 'BlueBorne' to exploit Bluetooth in hacking devices and OS

IoT attack vector 'BlueBorne' to exploit Bluetooth in hacking devices and OS

Once a device is infected with malware, it can then easily broadcast the malware to other Bluetooth-enabled devices in its vicinity, either inside an office or in more public locations.

It's thought to be the most widescale set of vulnerabilities based on the number of devices affected.

Armis says it affects computers running Windows and Linux as well as IoT gadgets and mobile devices powered by Android and iOS.

There is no need for a target device to be paired, Armis said.

As concerning as such an exploit is, consumers should take comfort in the fact that not only are the flaws fixable but some manufacturers have already taken steps to patch the vulnerabilities and keep users safe.

The popular personal area network Bluetooth protocol used by nearly every modern mobile device is full of security holes that can be exploited by attackers, researchers have found. Microsoft issued a patch for the vulnerabilities in July as part of its monthly security updates but did not specify that it had done so, instead specifying this only in its September security updates on Tuesday.

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Bluetooth is widely implemented in billions of devices, and almost all of those devices need to be patched for a new set of Bluetooth vulnerabilities dubbed BlueBorne.

The vulnerabilities were found in the Bluetooth implementations in Android, Microsoft, Linux and iOS versions pre-iOS 10.

"BlueBorne is an attack vector by which hackers can leverage Bluetooth connections to penetrate and take complete control over targeted devices". There is no indication to date that the BlueBorne vulnerabilities have been exploited in the wild by attackers.

Unlike traditional cyberattacks, the Bluetooth method doesn't need a victim to fall for a malware-ridden link or download a booby-trapped document.

The vulnerability uncovered by Armis in older versions of iOS had been fixed by Apple in iOS 10 and Apple TV 7.2.2.

Linux kernels since 3.3-rc1 are affected and so are all Linux devices running the BlueZ stack.

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A technical report on the BlueBorne flaws is available here.

As for Google, the company said that its Android partners received the patch in early August. Microsoft released an update today to all Windows versions that closes the vulnerability, with details listed here.

Google is patching Android 4.4.4 KitKat and later, leaving fewer than one-in-ten older Android devices without the patches.

Armis has released a white paper that describes the how the vulnerability works and how it can be exploited.

"Imagine there's a WannaCry on Bluetooth, where attackers can deposit ransomware on the device, and tell it to find other devices on Bluetooth and spread it automatically".

Armis said that it's seen two main issues with how platform vendors have implemented the Bluetooth protocol: Either the platform vendors followed the implementation guidelines word for word, which has led to the same Bluetooth bug to exist on both Android and Windows, or in some areas, the Bluetooth specifications have left too much room for interpretation, which opened the possibility for multiple bugs to exist in various implementations. "The research illustrates the types of threats facing us in this new connected age". "Because you can use Bluetooth to connect a mouse or keyboard to an Android device, now I can run it", Seri explained.

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Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.


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