Bluetooth Exploit Can Infiltrate Smartphones Within Seconds

More vulnerabilities await discovery in the various platforms using Bluetooth.


Armis, a security company, has recently found a number of exploits that use Bluetooth to give an attacker direct access to your smartphone remotely. The new exploits have been put under a branch nicknamed BlueBorne and they are able to infect any devices with built-in Bluetooth.

Bluetooth has been relatively unscathed when it comes to malicious attacks, so these new BlueBorne exploits are understandably worrying.

“Armis believes many more vulnerabilities await discovery in the various platforms using Bluetooth. These vulnerabilities are fully operational, and can be successfully exploited, as demonstrated in our research. The BlueBorne attack vector can be used to conduct a large range of offenses, including remote code execution as well as Man-in-The-Middle attacks.”

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The exploit will allow malicious attackers to find a Bluetooth connected device and then connect to it through Bluetooth. Once connected, the hacker will have access to the device remotely. The exploits will allow any malicious individuals to control the screen of an infected device and open or close apps.

The exploit, fortunately, has one major flaw. Once the infection begins, the smartphone owner will be able to see what the attacker is doing if the attacker decides to control a device remotely. Any activity carried out via one of the BlueBorne exploits will not be hidden or secretive, but rather play out live in front of the smartphone owner’s eyes.


However, one of the BlueBorne exploits doesn’t necessarily have to take control of the device. Instead, it can communicate with a device remotely and force it to give up important passwords and keys. Once it has gotten access to this information, it can then carry out further attacks remotely, or use that information to breach accounts from another device.

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This attack is highly sophisticated in that it doesn’t need to install any software or malware to start infiltrating a device. More antiquated methods, such as SMS tracking malware, or apps with built-in keyloggers, are often difficult for malicious attackers to install onto a device. With BlueBorne, no installation is necessary.

Once you’ve been hit by BlueBorne, there isn’t much you can do about it.

“This vulnerability resides in the Bluetooth Network Encapsulation Protocol (BNEP) service, which enables internet sharing over a Bluetooth connection (tethering). Due to a flaw in the BNEP service, a hacker can trigger a surgical memory corruption, which is easy to exploit and enables him to run code on the device, effectively granting him complete control.”

Other vulnerabilities are available for BlueBorne hackers – Another vulnerability “Resides in the PAN profile of the Bluetooth stack, and enables the attacker to create a malicious network interface on the victim’s device, re-configure IP routing and force the device to transmit all communication through the malicious network interface. This attack does not require any user interaction, authentication or pairing, making it practically invisible.”

Currently, the BlueBorne exploit cannot impact iOS or Windows Phone users. It is still a major problem on Android devices. Google is pushing out a patch to fix it today, so make sure to install the latest software update as soon as it’s made available on your device.

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