Is Bluetooth Secure? Security and Attack Methods for Bluetooth

Thanks to smartphones and tablets, Bluetooth has become a widely used technology. Bluetooth is still prone to vulnerability, even as we’ve grown accustomed to using it for connecting devices to earphones, cars, and other software.

How Does Bluetooth Work?

RS-232 serial communication was used to communicate in the past until 1989 when Ericsson invented a wireless alternative. Bluetooth was developed by Nokia and other companies in 1996 for short-distance communication. All these organizations formed the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). Bluetooth consists of devices that are connected to the parent device and devices that are attached to the child’s device. Piconets are like that. There is a distance between the child device and the parent device of 10 meters. Scatternets are created when piconets are connected. Communication between the parent device and the child device is possible. Direct communication with child devices is not possible, however.

How does Bluetooth Security work?

Bluetooth’s security models include three basic types:

1. Non-secure mode: This mode does not include any security applications. It is not possible to implement steps such as authentication, encryption, and communication security.

2. Service level security mode: There is only service-level security in this mode. A secure service does not protect applications even if they are relatively secure when communicating.

3. Link-level security mode: Unlike the other modes, this one works at the connection level. Attempts are being made here to prevent unauthorized access and to fully secure the system.

There are three levels of security for each Bluetooth service. Authorization and authentication may be used by some services, while authentication may be used only by others. Devices using this protocol can be secured in two different ways.

How to Increase Your Bluetooth Security?

Switch to “discoverable” mode only when you are using your Bluetooth device and leave it in “not discoverable” mode (transmission disabled). Bluetooth issues can occur when you leave your smartphone or any Bluetooth device in discoverable mode. Your Bluetooth signal can be picked up by anyone within close range, whether you’re walking around your office or taking a stroll. Avoid storing sensitive data on Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, identity numbers, serial numbers, and passwords. Whenever you communicate via Bluetooth, be sure to connect it to a secure location and keep your passwords complex. If you are going to upload photos, make sure they are stored on a sandboxed service with complex passwords and extra layers of security such as two-factor authentication (2FA). Your neighborhood will become less vulnerable to intruders if you do this.

How Do Hackers Attack Bluetooth?

When it comes to Bluetooth, there are a number of attack vectors to choose from. In order to gain access to the system, the attacker exploits Bluetooth vulnerabilities. Once the attacker has gained access to the system, they use privilege escalation, i.e. using small exploits to gain access to the wider system. Due to this, evidence may be destroyed, other devices may be attacked, or the entire device may even be taken over via Bluetooth. Bluetooth devices are typically regarded as being safe from long distances. It is, however, incorrect. A high-gain antenna can allow you to attack from 1500 meters away, and even further with Bluetooth 5, the most recent version of the technology, and developing network structures. In general, attackers transfer erroneous files in order to generate unexpected results. An insufficient security level causes a system to fall into an unstable state or crash when it receives an unexpected file. Vulnerable devices can be targeted by attackers who take advantage of these situations.

What Is the Blueborne Vulnerability?

Bluetooth technology can be frightening once again thanks to the vulnerability dubbed Blueborne, published in September 2017. As a result of this attack, many devices were able to run code remotely (although remote access can be made more secure).

There were significant differences between Blueborne and other attacks. User permission is required for the aforementioned vectors. This means that the end user approved things like a file transfer request, a connection request, and a device trust request. As opposed to Blueborne, the user didn’t have to grant any permissions and could be used remotely.

Don’t Underestimate Bluetooth Attacks

Bluetooth connections should never be left open, and you should never accept Bluetooth connections from people you do not trust. Remove unused Bluetooth devices from the list of trusted devices by keeping your software up-to-date. Most Bluetooth attacks can be prevented using these methods.

As technology advances, attack vectors will continue to evolve, and perfect security does not exist.

Leave a Comment