Bluetooth Security Flaw Allows Hackers to Create Man in the Middle Attacks

Bluetooth is an excellent way to pair devices, connect your device to your car’s infotainment system or use a wireless speaker to listen to your favorite tunes. While the ease of connectivity makes it convenient to use on many levels, security researchers discovered a Bluetooth security flaw that might allow an intruder to intercept your data.

Meet Bluetooth Security Flaw CVW-2018-5383

ZDNet reports Lior Neumann and Eli Biham from the Israel Institute of Technology were the first to discover the flaw in Bluetooth’s operating system and firmware. These vulnerabilities give hackers a window to intercept data from 30 meters out or less, where they can decrypt the data shared between paired devices.

Additionally, the flaw affects Broadcom, Apple, Intel, and Qualcomm hardware, according to the report. Some Android headsets also contain the vulnerability, though the report didn’t provide specific software or phones affected.

Illustration by Scott Schober

Overall, the researchers found the flaw affects Low Energy Secure Connections and Bluetooth’s Secure Simple Pairing. Moreover, Carnegie Mellon University CERT states the cause of the vulnerability deals with the failure of some Bluetooth vendors’ implementation to properly validate the cryptographic key exchange-this occurs when devices pair.

What does this all mean? Using Bluetooth can be similar to using public WiFi: you gain a connection to an unsecured channel. However, where Bluetooth is somewhat different is it uses a key exchange implementation to establish a secure connection on a channel that’s normally unsecured, according to ZDNet.

So, using this example, the vulnerability means hackers have the ability to intercept your data, using a man-in-the-middle attack. According to ZDNet, this is where a remote hacker injects a bogus key into the session key when the devices pair, giving hackers the ability to intercept and decrypt data. It also provides them with a gateway to create and deploy malicious messages that could harm devices.

How to Make Your Bluetooth Connections More Secure

Since the Bluetooth security flaw has become more prevalent, tech companies are creating solutions to circumvent the problem. For starters, Apple released a patch for the flaw in July for all macOS systems. Additionally, Huawei and LG have followed suit with software updates of their own.

As with many security measures, it’s important to have an action plan in place. The first is to keep all devices up to date with the latest software updates. Since hackers test vulnerabilities and older software versions are more likely to have this, doing the software updates is a simple way to mitigate risk.

Another thing to consider is adding further protections to your paired devices. Virtual private networks use a secure, third-party server to encrypt your data and keep you anonymous online. Therefore, even with the Bluetooth security flaw, you’ve created another layer hackers have to crack through.

Meanwhile, if hackers gain remote access to your files to encrypt them, it’s important to find experts who can help you recover those files in a secure and fast manner. The team at Outsource Data Recovery can do this using state-of-the-art tools and industry know how that spans decades. Contact us today to learn more!