Sci-tech

Billions of Bluetooth Devices at Risk

Billions of Bluetooth Devices at Risk

Armis released an Android tester app that could tell users if their device was still vulnerable - as of Wednesday, a variety of Samsung devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S8 were still marked as vulnerable to malware attacks transmitted by Bluetooth.

What sets BlueBorne apart from other malware is that the infected device doesn't have to pair with your hardware to infect it. Pairing is fundamental to the use of Bluetooth.

BlueBorne allows attackers to take control of devices, access corporate data and networks, penetrate secure "air-gapped" networks, and spread malware laterally to adjacent devices.

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Both the Australian and U.S. governments have released warnings about a new vulnerability known as BlueBorne, which leaves millions of mobile phones, computers and IoT devices exposed to hackers.

Security company Armis Labs found the collection of eight zero-day exploits, collectively called BlueBorne. Having it on all day everyday can exponentially risk a person's security and privacy, even if they have installed the necessary patch. To protect devices, users should turn off Bluetooth immediately after they are finished using it. It also echoes the way the WannaCry ransomware spread earlier this year.

BlueBorne is "highly infectious", according to Armis Labs. Bluetooth signals allow gadgets to connect and communicate wirelessly.

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Almost every connected device out there has Bluetooth capability. But we all know that updates aren't exactly instant in the Android universe, especially compared to Apple's or Microsoft's updates. Windows and iOS phones are already protected from the vulnerability.

Currently, all Windows devices running Vista or later, all Linux devices running BlueZ or Tizen 3.3-rc1, all Android devices, and all versions of iOS running iOS 9.x or earlier are affected. iOS 10 and later devices from Apple are not affected.

The larger problem lies with smartphone manufacturers whose devices run on Google's Android OS, as manufacturers are the ones responsible for releasing security patches and updates from Google to its users. Google users are receiving a patch today. While the vulnerability itself is concerning, the real threat is most alarming: "running applications and connecting to websites to execute more attacks, an issue that can only be addressed if every application, every website has a unique machine identity". In addition, about 180 million Android devices are running older versions of Android that will not be patched, as well as single-purpose devices such as smart refrigerators or connected televisions which rarely, if ever, receive software updates.

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