Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
12/14/2017
05:43 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

BlueBorne Attack Highlights Flaws in Linux, IoT Security

Bluetooth vulnerabilities let attackers control devices running Linux or any OS derived from it, putting much of the Internet of Things at risk, including popular consumer products.

Popular consumer "smart" products, including Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Samsung's Gear S3, are dangerously exposed to airborne cyberattacks conducted via Bluetooth.

Researchers at IoT security firm Armis earlier this year discovered Blueborne, a new group of airborne attacks. The vulnerabilities let attackers take full control of any device running Linux, or OS derived from Linux, putting the majority of IoT devices at risk of exposure. The researchers discussed and demonstrated their latest findings at Black Hat Europe 2017, held last week in London.

Vulnerabilities in the Bluetooth stack have been overlooked for the past decade, they explained. Bluetooth, often perceived as peripheral, could benefit attackers if they successfully break into a high-privilege device. As the researchers demonstrated, one compromised product can spread its attack over the air to other devices within Bluetooth range.

"These attacks don't require any user interaction or any authentication," said Armis head researcher Ben Seri in their presentation. Armis experts found 5.3 billion devices at risk and eight vulnerabilities, four of which were classified as critical. These flaws enable attackers to bypass and break into a device without its owner knowing what happened, he explained.

Each vulnerability across the Bluetooth stack is "a testament to the fact that no specific part is vulnerable, but Bluetooth implementations have not been audited enough," he continued. In general, these implementations are complex and unexamined.

Bluetooth has a large attack surface, Armis researcher Gregory Vishnepolsky said. When Bluetooth is enabled, a device may not be discoverable but it is always listening for incoming connections. Hackers don't need a device to be discoverable in order to break in, he noted.

Bluetooth devices transmit parts of their MAC addresses over the air. If an attacker is close enough to sniff radio between two communicating Bluetooth devices, they can get 80% of the address from a single packet and brute-force the rest. Open-source hardware tools can do this for as little as $100, he said. Attackers put these devices on networks to listen for packets.

Many OEMs use adjacent MAC addresses for wifi and Bluetooth. Wifi monitor mode detects nearby Bluetooth devices. Seri explained how L2CAP, the Bluetooth equivalent of TCP, is implemented in the kernel. Connecting to an open port doesn't require authentication, and further, many obscure quality of service features increase the amount of code -- and as a result, the attack surface.

To illustrate the vulnerability of Bluetooth, the researchers presented examples of everyday devices that can be compromised. One was the Amazon Echo, which is not equipped with expected stack overflow mitigations KASLR, stack canaries, Fortify_source, NX Bit, or Access Control. With no NX Bit, for example, an attacker can just jump to the shell code in the stack and overflow it.

The researchers did a live demo in which they hacked a Samsung S3 Gear smartwatch, which over Bluetooth hacked a Google Home, which used a Bluetooth connection to break into the Amazon Echo.

"No security mechanisms today are actually looking at Bluetooth communications or non-wifi protocols," they explained. "This needs to be fixed."

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
spiderdawg
100%
0%
spiderdawg,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2017 | 11:20:31 AM
Controlling communication is today's power move
We certainly seem to be in the "wild west" phase of internet communication! First, we hear that millions of phony comments were posted with the Federal Communications Commission using stolen identities. Now, it appears that control of our homes and their smart contents is up for grabs!

Thanks for the wake-up call, Kelly Sheridan! Since it has widespread implications, I have posted a link to your article in my Environmental Politics collection on Google+. Search Jeff Diver and Google+ and you'll see that Collection listed. Sorry I can't link it here!
JosephJacoby
100%
0%
JosephJacoby,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2017 | 5:50:03 AM
nice
nice
US Turning Up the Heat on North Korea's Cyber Threat Operations
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  9/16/2019
Preventing PTSD and Burnout for Cybersecurity Professionals
Craig Hinkley, CEO, WhiteHat Security,  9/16/2019
NetCAT Vulnerability Is Out of the Bag
Dark Reading Staff 9/12/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16413
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-19
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.0.4. The 9p filesystem did not protect i_size_write() properly, which causes an i_size_read() infinite loop and denial of service on SMP systems.
CVE-2019-3738
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-18
RSA BSAFE Crypto-J versions prior to 6.2.5 are vulnerable to an Improper Verification of Cryptographic Signature vulnerability. A malicious remote attacker could potentially exploit this vulnerability to coerce two parties into computing the same predictable shared key.
CVE-2019-3739
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-18
RSA BSAFE Crypto-J versions prior to 6.2.5 are vulnerable to Information Exposure Through Timing Discrepancy vulnerabilities during ECDSA key generation. A malicious remote attacker could potentially exploit those vulnerabilities to recover ECDSA keys.
CVE-2019-3740
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-18
RSA BSAFE Crypto-J versions prior to 6.2.5 are vulnerable to an Information Exposure Through Timing Discrepancy vulnerabilities during DSA key generation. A malicious remote attacker could potentially exploit those vulnerabilities to recover DSA keys.
CVE-2019-3756
PUBLISHED: 2019-09-18
RSA Archer, versions prior to 6.6 P3 (6.6.0.3), contain an information disclosure vulnerability. Information relating to the backend database gets disclosed to low-privileged RSA Archer users' UI under certain error conditions.