The new 802.11bf standard will turn Wi-Fi devices into object sensors:
In three years or so, the Wi-Fi specification is scheduled to get an upgrade that will turn wireless devices into sensors capable of gathering data about the people and objects bathed in their signals.
“When 802.11bf will be finalized and introduced as an IEEE standard in September 2024, Wi-Fi will cease to be a communication-only standard and will legitimately become a full-fledged sensing paradigm,” explains Francesco Restuccia, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern University, in a paper summarizing the state of the Wi-Fi Sensing project (SENS) currently being developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
SENS is envisioned as a way for devices capable of sending and receiving wireless data to use Wi-Fi signal interference differences to measure the range, velocity, direction, motion, presence, and proximity of people and objects.
More detail in the article. Security and privacy controls are still to be worked out, which means that there probably won’t be any.
Posted on April 5, 2021 at 6:15 AM •
This is new research on a Bluetooth vulnerability (called BIAS) that allows someone to impersonate a trusted device:
Abstract: Bluetooth (BR/EDR) is a pervasive technology for wireless communication used by billions of devices. The Bluetooth standard includes a legacy authentication procedure and a secure authentication procedure, allowing devices to authenticate to each other using a long term key. Those procedures are used during pairing and secure connection establishment to prevent impersonation attacks. In this paper, we show that the Bluetooth specification contains vulnerabilities enabling to perform impersonation attacks during secure connection establishment. Such vulnerabilities include the lack of mandatory mutual authentication, overly permissive role switching, and an authentication procedure downgrade. We describe each vulnerability in detail, and we exploit them to design, implement, and evaluate master and slave impersonation attacks on both the legacy authentication procedure and the secure authentication procedure. We refer to our attacks as Bluetooth Impersonation AttackS (BIAS).
Our attacks are standard compliant, and are therefore effective against any standard compliant Bluetooth device regardless the Bluetooth version, the security mode (e.g., Secure Connections), the device manufacturer, and the implementation details. Our attacks are stealthy because the Bluetooth standard does not require to notify end users about the outcome of an authentication procedure, or the lack of mutual authentication. To confirm that the BIAS attacks are practical, we successfully conduct them against 31 Bluetooth devices (28 unique Bluetooth chips) from major hardware and software vendors, implementing all the major Bluetooth versions, including Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, Cypress, Broadcom, Samsung, and CSR.
Posted on May 26, 2020 at 6:54 AM •
Bluetooth has a serious security vulnerability:
In some implementations, the elliptic curve parameters are not all validated by the cryptographic algorithm implementation, which may allow a remote attacker within wireless range to inject an invalid public key to determine the session key with high probability. Such an attacker can then passively intercept and decrypt all device messages, and/or forge and inject malicious messages.
Paper. Website. Three news articles.
This is serious. Update your software now, and try not to think about all of the Bluetooth applications that can’t be updated.
Posted on July 25, 2018 at 2:08 PM •
A Turkish Airlines flight made an emergency landing because someone named his wireless network (presumably from his smartphone) “bomb on board.”
In 2006, I wrote an essay titled “Refuse to be Terrorized.” (I am also reminded of my 2007 essay, “The War on the Unexpected.” A decade later, it seems that the frequency of incidents like the one above is less, although not zero. Progress, I suppose.
Posted on December 1, 2017 at 9:56 AM •
WikiLeaks has published CherryBlossom, the CIA’s program to hack into wireless routers. The program is about a decade old.
Four good news articles. Five. And a list of vulnerable routers.
Posted on June 28, 2017 at 5:35 AM •
Research paper: “Security and Privacy Vulnerabilities of In-Car Wireless Networks: A Tire Pressure Monitoring System Case Study,” by Ishtiaq Rouf, Rob Miller, Hossen Mustafa, Travis Taylor, Sangho Oh, Wenyuan Xu, Marco Gruteser, Wade Trapper, Ivan Seskar:
Abstract: Wireless networks are being integrated into the modern automobile. The security and privacy implications of such in-car networks, however, have are not well understood as their transmissions propagate beyond the confines of a car’s body. To understand the risks associated with these wireless systems, this paper presents a privacy and security evaluation of wireless Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems using both laboratory experiments with isolated tire pressure sensor modules and experiments with a complete vehicle system. We show that eavesdropping is easily possible at a distance of roughly 40m from a passing vehicle. Further, reverse-engineering of the underlying protocols revealed static 32 bit identifiers and that messages can be easily triggered remotely, which raises privacy concerns as vehicles can be tracked through these identifiers. Further, current protocols do not employ authentication and vehicle implementations do not perform basic input validation, thereby allowing for remote spoofing of sensor messages. We validated this experimentally by triggering tire pressure warning messages in a moving vehicle from a customized software radio attack platform located in a nearby vehicle. Finally, the paper concludes with a set of recommendations for improving the privacy and security of tire pressure monitoring systems and other forthcoming in-car wireless sensor networks.
Posted on September 16, 2016 at 8:59 AM •
Most of them are unencrypted, which makes them vulnerable to all sorts of attacks:
On Tuesday Bastille’s research team revealed a new set of wireless keyboard attacks they’re calling Keysniffer. The technique, which they’re planning to detail at the Defcon hacker conference in two weeks, allows any hacker with a $12 radio device to intercept the connection between any of eight wireless keyboards and a computer from 250 feet away. What’s more, it gives the hacker the ability to both type keystrokes on the victim machine and silently record the target’s typing.
This is a continuation of their previous work
More news articles. Here are lists of affected devices.
Posted on August 1, 2016 at 3:07 PM •
Good paper, and layman’s explanation.
Internet voting scares me. It gives hackers the potential to seriously disrupt our democratic processes.
EDITED TO ADD (11/14): Another article.
Posted on November 11, 2014 at 6:37 AM •
Firechat is a secure wireless peer-to-peer chat app:
Firechat is theoretically resistant to the kind of centralized surveillance that the Chinese government (as well as western states, especially the US and the UK) is infamous for. Phones connect directly to one another, establish encrypted connections, and transact without sending messages to servers where they can be sniffed and possibly decoded.
EDITED TO ADD (10/1): Firechat has security issues.
Posted on October 1, 2014 at 2:25 PM •
A device called Cyborg Unplugged can be configured to prevent any Wi-Fi connection:
Oliver notes on the product’s website that its so-called “All Out Mode”—which prevents surveillance devices from connecting to any Wi-Fi network in the area—is likely illegal, and he advises against its use. Nevertheless, we can imagine activists slipping these little devices into public areas and wreaking a bit of havoc.
Posted on September 9, 2014 at 2:07 PM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.