Huge Bluetooth security flaw affecting all phones exposed! AirDrop most at risk to attacks | Tech News

Huge Bluetooth security flaw affecting all phones exposed! AirDrop most at risk to attacks

A new research has demonstrated that all devices between now and 2014 are at a significant risk due to a Bluetooth security flaw, the connections from these devices can be hijacked by hackers. AirDrop on iPhone at a particular risk.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Nov 30 2023, 17:49 IST
Bluetooth
Know all about this Bluetooth security flaw that puts all devices between 2014 and now at risk. iPhone users are advised to be careful while using the AirDrop feature. (Unsplash)
Bluetooth
Know all about this Bluetooth security flaw that puts all devices between 2014 and now at risk. iPhone users are advised to be careful while using the AirDrop feature. (Unsplash)

Researchers have demonstrated six different attacks that can break the secure connection of devices connected via Bluetooth and hijack data from innocent victims. Scarily, all devices between 2014 and now are vulnerable to this risk. The particular Bluetooth security flaw was found to be present on all devices using Bluetooth 4.2 to 5.4. Additionally, the report has found that the AirDrop feature on iPhones is at particular risk from this attack.

According to a report by Bleeping Computer, “Researchers at Eurecom have developed six new attacks collectively named 'BLUFFS' that can break the secrecy of Bluetooth sessions, allowing for device impersonation and man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks”.

Here, impersonation attacks mean such attacks where a hacker can pretend to be a secure connection where you're sending files or other data, and while the victim thinks they're sending it to a trustworthy destination, it ends up with the hacker. Man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks are those where the data reaches the intended recipient but the hacker intercepts the connection and also receives a copy of the data.

Major Bluetooth security flaw emerges

According to Daniele Antonioli, who discovered the attacks, these attacks are not specific to software or hardware, and instead targets the architectural configuration of Bluetooth connections to hijack the devices at a fundamental level. AirDrop is at a higher risk because of the way it pairs with other iPhones and Apple devices.

Put simply, two devices pair and connect with one another based on secret session keys. The devices automatically create these keys and during the pairing process, they are shared among the two devices, which is used to confirm the bond and start a connection. These attacks, collectively called BLUFFS, trick devices into picking weak security keys, which can easily be broken by an attacker.

Concerningly, there is nothing that can be done to fix the flaw, as it is not a software vulnerability. The issue can only be fixed by device manufacturers when they implement a more secure way to connect devices. However, this means that existing devices may never get a patch to fix this flaw.

How to protect yourself from Bluetooth hijacking

One effective solution is to not keep Bluetooth turned on while you're outdoors. But for those who use Bluetooth earphones or smartwatches, it may not be a viable solution. One thing users should really be careful about is to not send data in a public place, where the risk of being hacked into is much higher. Any sensitive document or files should never be shared over Bluetooth.

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First Published Date: 30 Nov, 16:45 IST
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