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.

Mobile Security //

Bluetooth

7/25/2018
08:05 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Bluetooth Vulnerability Opens Up Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

With almost certainly hypothetical, this vulnerability in Bluetooth's protocol could result in a man-in-the-middle attack and allow the culprits to steal personal data off a device.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has updated the specifications of the protocol to deal with a high severity vulnerability in some implementations that could compromise data integrity.

The Secure Simple Pairing and LE Secure Connections are the affected parts of the protocol, according to the update. When pairing with a new device, the protocol "recommends, but does not require" validation of the public key received during that pairing.

Researchers Lior Neumann and Eli Biham of the Israel Institute of Technology discovered in January that this was not being implemented by all vendors. If ignored, the pairing devices would not validate the elliptic curve parameters which generated public keys during a Diffie-Hellman key exchange.

This could result in a weak key being injected by an attacker that is within physical range of the pairing devices. This injected fake key would then be accepted by the devices, giving rise to the attacker being able to mount a man-in-the-middle (MiM) attack.

The Bluetooth SIG notes in the statement that the attack -- which has not been found in the wild -- requires some stringent conditions.

SIG notes:

For an attack to be successful, an attacking device would need to be within wireless range of two vulnerable Bluetooth devices that were going through a pairing procedure. The attacking device would need to intercept the public key exchange by blocking each transmission, sending an acknowledgement to the sending device, and then injecting the malicious packet to the receiving device within a narrow time window. If only one device had the vulnerability, the attack would not be successful.

The attack has been listed as CVE-2018-5383.

US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has also sent out a security advisory about the problem. In it, CERT listed Apple, Broadcom, Intel and Qualcomm as being affected by the vulnerability. All four say they have deployed some sort of fix.

Microsoft is listed as not being affected. The CERT notice found that it could not determine if Android, other types of Google devices, or the Linux kernel was affected.


Zero in on the most attractive 5G NR deployment strategies, and take a look ahead to later technology developments and service innovations. Join us for the Deployment Strategies for 5G NR breakfast workshop in LA at MWCA on September 12. Register now to learn from and network with industry experts – communications service providers get in free!

CERT describes the solution that has been put into place.

"Since the vulnerability was identified," according to the July 23 advisory, "the Bluetooth SIG has updated the Bluetooth specifications to require validation of any public key received as part of public key-based security procedures, thereby providing a remedy to the vulnerability from a specification perspective. In addition, the Bluetooth SIG has added testing for this vulnerability within its Bluetooth Qualification Program."

Since it has been about six months between discovery of the flaw and remediation, there has been enough time to complete a comprehensive solution. The underlying problem is simple enough: Trust but verify that the proposed actions should take care of the vulnerability when the vendors issue their needed patches.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
New 'Nanodegree' Program Provides Hands-On Cybersecurity Training
Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Writer,  8/3/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15820
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, the markdown parser could disclose hidden file existence.
CVE-2020-15821
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, a user without permission is able to create an article draft.
CVE-2020-15823
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.8873 is vulnerable to SSRF in the Workflow component.
CVE-2020-15824
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains Kotlin before 1.4.0, there is a script-cache privilege escalation vulnerability due to kotlin-main-kts cached scripts in the system temp directory, which is shared by all users by default.
CVE-2020-15825
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
In JetBrains TeamCity before 2020.1, users with the Modify Group permission can elevate other users' privileges.