Archives for : Corporate

    No need to bypass security with a boot disk – 17 year old Windows exploit found

    The problem has been discovered in the Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) introduced in 1993 to support 16-bit applications (real mode applications for 8086). VDM is based on the Virtual 8086 Mode (VM86) in 80386 processors and, among other things, intercepts hardware routines such as BIOS calls. Google security team member Tavis Ormandy has found several vulnerabilities in this implementation that allow an unprivileged 16-bit program to manipulate the kernel stack of each process via a number of tricks. This potentially enables attackers to execute code at system privilege level.

    In addition to the unpatched hole in Internet Explorer, a now published hole in Windows allows users with restricted access to escalate their privileges to system level – and this is believed to be possible on all 32-bit versions of Windows from Windows NT 3.1 up to, and including Windows 7. While the vulnerability is likely to affect home users in only a minor way, the administrators of corporate networks will probably have their hands full this week.

    The problem is caused by flaws in the Virtual DOS Machine (VDM) introduced in 1993 to support 16-bit applications (real mode applications for 8086). VDM is based on the Virtual 8086 Mode (VM86) in 80386 processors and, among other things, intercepts hardware routines such as BIOS calls. Google security team member Tavis Ormandy has found several vulnerabilities in this implementation that allow an unprivileged 16-bit program to manipulate the kernel stack of each process via a number of tricks. This potentially enables attackers to execute code at system privilege level.

    Ormandy has also published a suitable exploit which functions under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Windows Vista and Windows 7. When tested by the The H’s associates at heise Security, the exploit opened a command prompt in the system context, which has the highest privilege level, under Windows XP and Windows 7. No patch has become available, although Ormandy reports that Microsoft was already informed of the hole in mid 2009. The developer decided to publish the information regardless because, in his opinion, there is a simple workaround: to disable the MS-DOS subsystem.

    The workaround requires users to start the group policy editor and enable the “Prevent access to 16-bit applications” option in the Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentsApplication Compatibility section. When tested with these settings by the heise Security team, the exploit no longer functioned. The settings reportedly don’t cause any major compatibility problems for most users while no 16-bit applications are being used.

    Update – The above option is only available through the group policy editor on Windows 2003 systems. Some versions of Windows do not include a group policy editor. As an alternative, users can also create a registry key under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsAppCompat with a D-Word value of VDMDissallowed = 1. Under Windows XP, to prevent the system from being vulnerable to the exploit, users can place the following text:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00



    into a file called vdmdisallow.reg and double click the file. Windows will then automatically import the key (admin rights are required to perform this action).

    Update 2 - Microsoft has now confirmed the privilege escalation hole in Windows. The company says that it wants to complete its investigation of the vulnerability and will then decide whether, how and when to close it.

    See Also:

    REDMOND — When it rains, it pours. Especially in the Seattle area. Tavis Ormandy has published full details on a privilege escalation hack of all versions of Windows including Windows 7.

    The exploit takes advantage of a bug in the Windows implementation of the ‘virtual DOS machine’ used to run legacy 16-bit programs. The exploit can be avoided by turning the VDM ‘feature’ off but the danger of course is that enough Windows lusers won’t know about the bug and/or bother turning the ‘feature’ off.

    16-bit applications need BIOS support; the Windows kernel supports virtual BIOS interrupts in its ‘Virtual-8086’ mode monitor code. The code is implemented in two stages. The #GP trap handler transitions to the second stage when CS:EIP faults with specific ‘magic’ values.

    The transition requires (subsequent to authentication) restoring the context and the call stack from the faulting trap frame. But the authentication process is flawed, relying as it does on three incorrect assumptions.

    • Setting up a VDM context requires SeTcbPrivilege.The barrier to getting a VDM context can be subverted by requesting the NT VDM subsystem and then using CreateRemoteThread() to run code in the context of the VDM subsystem. The VDM subsystem already has the necessary flag set.
    • Ring 3 (unprivileged) code cannot install arbitrary code segment selectors.Using the two least significant bits of CS/SS to calculate the privilege of a task doesn’t work when it comes to Virtual-8086 mode. The 20-bit addressing (by adding CS << 4 to the 16-bit IP) is also used to map onto the protected linear Virtual-8086 address space. If CS can be set to an arbitrary value, then the privilege calculation can be circumvented.
    • Ring 3 (unprivileged) code cannot forge a trap frame.Returns to user mode are through IRET. An invalid context can cause IRET to fail pre-commit, which in turn forges a trap frame. And even with address randomisation it’s trivial to use NtQuerySystemInformation() to obtain the address of the second stage BIOS handler.

    Affected Systems

    This bug dates back 17 years and affects all systems released since 27 July 1993 – Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7. See the links below for further details.

    See Also
    MITRE: CVE-2010-0232
    Windows plagued by 17-year-old privilege escalation bug
    NEOPHASIS: Trap Handler Allows Users to Switch Kernel Stack

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    IRLP,  iPHONE, iLINK, eCHOLINK and WIN SYSTEM (May 2005)


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    See also Kits and components

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    Please also look at manufacture’s sites

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    Radio & Communications Monitoring Monthly


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    SCADA considerations


    • Corporate Information Protection
    • Security Management
    • Information Classification
    • Physical (and Environmental) Security
    • Personnel Security
    • Security Awareness Training
    • Security Incident Response
    • Security Monitoring
    • Network Security
    • PC/Workstation Security
    • Support and Operational Security Related
    • Encryption and Information Confidentiality
    • Authorization Controls
    • Identification and Authentication Mechanisms
    • Systems Life Cycle Security
    • Business Continuity Planning
    • Media Security
    • Third Party Services

    Typical concerns and points discussion:

    • Inbound and out Bound FTP
    • Suggest use of DMZ
    • Suggest use of Secure FTP
    • Suggest use of restricted secure IP addresses / tunnelling
    • Suggest use of private feeds

    Modem issues used with dial in services

    • No dial back
    • No Authentication
    • No Secure ID
    • Possibly automated scripts used, so hard coded usernames and passwords used.
    • Internet sharing may be turned on, allowing routing via workstations.

    Increased data security and integrity considerations

    • Data backups
    • System redundancy
    • Site and content filtering
    • Virus protection
    • Standard system procurement (discounts and spares)
    • Network and services redundancy
    • Network monitoring
    • Service availability monitoring
    • Internal controls
    • Vendor / external service supplier
    • Capacity management
    • Change management system
    • Asset management system
    • Telecommunication and telephony bulk cost discounting
    • Etc.

    Use and support for corporate application considerations

    • Email
    • Intranet
    • Internet
    • Corporate virus protection
    • Asset management
    • Change management
    • Project management
    • Performance / capacity management
    • Reduction of Cost
    • Use of corporate applications
    • Reduction of manual processes

    Other things to keep in mind:

    • SCADA monitoring system must be isolated from network errors and systems events. This will prevent SCADA operational systems being effected by network or corporate system issues / outages.
    • Review Network topology to ensure internal and external vulnerabilities are not currently being and cannot be abused.
    • Review of router configurations
    • Use of change management system
    • Review remote dial in systems
    • Firewall SCADA systems off from corporate applications
    • Uncontrolled networks and systems within the SCADA environment will compromise the corporate environments integrity and security.
    • Determine if systems used within SCADA are built to a standard operating environment.

    The EDinburgh Great Shiraz Challenge

    Kerry and I went along to the EDinburgh Cellars Great Shiraz Challenge.

    Between Kerry and I we tasted more than 25 great wines over a harrowing 2.5 hours of hustle and bustle in a huge tent in the ED’s carpark. It was great, we both thought that it was well worth the $30/head entry fee.

    One of the great things was the amount of large and small wine companies presenting their spoils. Refreshingly many of the tasting areas were manned by the wine maker, winery owner or someone of similar stature. This made for great conversations and allowed us to find other great non-mainstream wineries on the day.

    As Kerry (Wine group – 9yrs) and I (Corporate) both worked for SouthCorp (Prior to Fosters), we agreed that we would be looking for the special wines of the day. Well we did grab an RWT on the way out as the last tasting for the day – we are not stupid.

    We had a great day overall and purchased and ordered some great wins at the Cellars after the event.

    It was great catching up with Barb and Karel from Lengs and Cooter Wines and taste some of their great wines. Barb used to work at SouthCorp for many years and Karl worked at Telstra, but Kerry and I agree that they make great wines.

    Of the wines in the winning list below our favourites are:

    2006 Woodstock “The Stocks” Shiraz

    2004 Bullers Caliope Shiraz

    2006 Hentley Farm “The Beast” Shiraz

    2005 d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz

    2006 Glaetzer ‘Bishop’ Shiraz

    Other top votes from us for the day are:

    2008 Mike Press Adelaide Hills Shiraz (It’s been a long time since we’ve tasted such a good cheap wine)

    2007 Honey MoonVineyard Adelaide Hills Shiraz

    2004 Lengs & Cooter Old Vines Shiraz

    2004 Lengs & Cooter Reserve Shiraz

    2005 Artful Dodger Barossa Shiraz

    2007 Veronique Regions Shiraz

    2006 Cape Jaffa La Lune Biodynamic Shiraz

    2006 Ceravolo Sparkling Shiraz

    2007 Yelland & Papps Greenock Shiraz

    Results – Shiraz Challenge

    Shiraz Day 2008 was a massive hit, with a record crowd of over 900 slurping through a field of just over 300 Shiraz. As always, we ask attendees to vote for their favourite wine of the day, and congratulations goes to Clarendon Hills for their superbly compelling 2006 Liandra Shiraz. Here’s the full list of the Top 20:

    2006 Clarendon Hills Liandra Syrah

    2005 Torbreck Factor Shiraz

    2005 Langmeil Freedom 1843 Shiraz

    2006 Hentley Farm ‘The Beast’ Shiraz

    2005 Whistler Reserve Shiraz

    2006 Penfolds RWT Shiraz

    2005 Wild Witch Shiraz

    2005 d’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz

    2005 Dutschke St Jakobi Shiraz

    2006 Woodstock ‘The Stocks’ Shiraz

    2006 Brick Kiln Shiraz

    2004 Bullers Caliope Shiraz

    2006 Hentley Farm ‘The Beauty’

    2005 Pikes ‘The E.W.P’ Shiraz

    2004 Paracombe Somerville Shiraz

    2006 Kalleske Greenock Shiraz

    2005 Bendbrook Goat Track Shiraz

    2004 Penfolds St Henri Shiraz

    2004 Bethany Wines GR9 Reserve

    2005 Paxton EJ Shiraz

    TOP 20 UNDER $30:

    2005 Tin Shed Melting Pot Shiraz

    2004 Carlei Estate ‘Green Vineyard’

    2004 Majella Shiraz

    2007 Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz

    2005 Hugo Shiraz

    2006 Tar & Roses Shiraz

    2004 Whistler Shiraz

    2005 2 Mates Shiraz McLaren Vale

    2005 d’Arenberg Footbolt Shiraz

    2006 Mitolo Jester Shiraz

    2006 Guichen Bay Vineyards Reserve

    2006 Pirathon Shiraz by Kalleske

    2006 Scarpantoni Block 3 Shiraz

    2006 Naked Run Barossa Shiraz

    2006 Bird in Hand Shiraz

    2006 O’Leary Walker Shiraz

    2006 Glaetzer ‘Bishop’ Shiraz

    2007 Paxton Quandong Shiraz

    2006 Trevor Jones ‘Boots’ Shiraz

    2005 Dutschke Gods Hill Road Shiraz


    Corporate Phone Lockdown Links


    I’m looking at some of the techniques used to lockdown the Iphone, Samsung, Sony and HDC mobile phones. I hope others find the links useful.


    Lock down the information on your iPhone and iPod touch

    iPhone’s PIM lockdown

    Apple ‘wise’ to lock down iPhone software,apple-wise-to-lock-down-iphone-software.aspx

    iPhone lockdown to boost on-demand services

    Wired’s Easy-Peasy iPhone Lockdown Checklist

    Gartner: iPhone 2.0 cuts business mustard

    3G iPhone: The business perspective

    What IT staff can do if the CEO gets an iPhone

    Iphone Hacking

    Iphone Enterprise

    New Specification to Lock Down Mobile Phones




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    EFT Syetms and Device Considerations

    EFT devices and systems differ depending on hardware vendor, country and bank / payment aggregator.
    Below is a list of things you may like to consider. This list is off the top of my head so it is probably not complete.

    Looking at the products and relationships us usually a good start.

    Things to consider:

    • Card skimming methods
    • Some EFT POS devices restrict the connection of a skimmer
    • Review levels of associated fraud
    • Review devices and EFT methods
    • Review terminal identification (merchant and customer)
    • Manual processing. (internal and external)
    • eCommerce products
    • PC based software
    • Dedicated server services (Nobil, etc.)
    • Web based engine (Custom objects, Web pop-ups, etc)
    • Authorisation / identification methods (Merchant and customer)
    • TCPIP session hijacking / session spoofing
    • Direct Debit as well as Credit Cards.
    • Swift (methods and controls)
    • Telegraphic transfer (methods and controls)
    • Payment aggregator relationships (eg. Payment Tech, manual processing, cheque scanning, etc.)
    • Internet banking facilities (attack / penetration,  Certificate registration / management, ISP SLA’s, etc.)
    • Implementation of Smart Card and / or alternative customer recognition devices.
    • Outsourcing and associated risks / service level agreements
    • Payment processing
    • Payment clearance
    • Payment switching
    • Reporting (segregation of merchant / customers / aggregators / partners / local / international)
    • Fraud detection and reporting
    • 3rd party acquiring risks
    • Single merchant ID many businesses
    • Allows moneys to be laundered if the payment aggregator does not place appropriate controls on the merchant.
    • Encryption used
    • Internet / trusted partner / inter-bank / extranet
    • Private and / or public certificates
    • Single use certificates
    • Client side certificates
    • Remittance advice processes and controls.
    • EFT disaster recovery and manual fall back procedures (associated security and reconciliation risks)
    • Trusted partner relationships, SLA’s, liabilities and risks.
    • EFT regulatory / legal requirements (inter-bank and government)
    • Refund processing / authorisation. (policies, procedures, controls, etc.)
    • CVV, CVV-2 / CVC-2 processing and management. (
    • Fraud detection mechanism (neural networks, inter-bank / department customer checks, etc)
    • Supported card schemes (AMEX/Visa/Mastercard/Discover/etc )
    • Review EFT floor limits (corporate and SME merchants)
    • Review the ability to withhold merchant settlement until the presence of fraud has been determined.
    • Review customer identification details. Such as (This varies around the world depending on local regulations / privacy laws)
    • Review real-time and batched processing methods and controls (sequence numbers, access to raw data, etc.)
    • Review processing with and without expiry dates. (exception controls and policies)
    • Review exception / fraud reports.
    • Review payment store and forward policies and procedures.
    • Review Pre-Auth and Completion controls.
    • Token based payment (eCash, etc)
    • Merchant reconciliation, reporting methods and controls (paper, Internet, email, PDF, Fax, etc.) and associated security.
    • Real time gross settlement policies, procedures and controls. (IT and amounts)
    • Card issuing policies and procedures. (customer ID checks, etc)
    • Banking infrastructure (ingress / egress) controls and security. (Web, partner, payment switches, outsourced infrastructure, monitoring / reporting.)
    • Use of Internet technologies for inter-bank transfers and remote equipment.
    • Physical security and controls of devices, ATM,s, line encryptors, etc.

    Bluetooth – Security

    Redirected from Bluetooth



    1 Bluetooth
    2 Wireless- History
    3 Wireless- Technologies
    4 Bluetooth- Technical Introduction
    5 Bluetooth- Advantages
    6 Bluetooth- Applications
    7 Bluetooth- Security Issues
    7.1 The SNARF attack
    7.2 The BACKDOOR attack
    7.3 The BLUEBUG attack
    7.4 Bluejacking
    7.5 Warnibbling
    8 Future of Bluetooth
    9 See also:
    10 Reference List


    Bluetooth is a new technology that utilises radio frequency waves as a way to communicate wirelessly between digital devices. It sets up personal area networks that incorporate all of a persons digital devices into one system for both convergence and convenience.

    Wireless- History

    Many people put the invention of [wireless] radio down to Guglielmo Marconi, who in 1895 sent the first radio telegraph transmission across the English Channel. Only twelve years later radio began being used in the public sphere. [Mathias, p.2] Up until then however, many wireless pioneers conducted trials across lakes where the antenna used to transmit the signal was longer than the distance across the lake. [Brodsky, p. 3] After its introduction the main use of wireless radio was for military communications where its first use was for the Boer War. [Flichy, p. 103] The invention of broadcast radio ensured the feasibility of wireless technologies. [Morrow, p. 2] By the 1920s, radio had become a well-recognised mass medium. [Flichy, p. 111] From the 1980s until now, wireless communications have been through several stages, from 1G (analogue signal), 2G (digital signal) and 3G (always on, faster data rate). [Lightman and Rojas, p. 3] The history of Bluetooth is a much more recent one, with the first Bluetooth-enabled products coming into existence in 2000. Named after Harald Blatand the first, king of Denmark around twelve hundred years ago, who joined the Danish and Norwegian kingdoms, Bluetooth technology is founded on this same unifying principle of being able to unite the computer and telecommunication industr[ies]. [Ganguli, p. 5] In 1994 the Ericsson Company began looking into the idea of replacing cables connecting accessories to mobile phones and computers with wireless links, and this became the main inspiration behind Bluetooth. [Morrow, p. 10]

    Wireless- Technologies

    Bluetooth is not the only wireless technology currently being developed and utilised. Other wireless technologies, including 802.11b, otherwise known as Wi-Fi, Infrared Data Association (IrDA), Ultra- Wideband Radio (UWB), and Home RF are being applied to similar technologies that Bluetooth use with mixed results. 802.11 is the most well known technology, excluding Bluetooth, and uses the same radio frequency, meaning that they are not compatible as they cause interference with each other. 802.11 is being implemented into universities in the US, Japan and China, as well as food and beverage shops where they are being used to identify students and customers. Even airports have taken up the 802.11 technology, with airports all over America, and three of Americas most prominent airlines promoting the use of it. [Lightman and Rojas, p. 202-3] Infrared Data Association is extremely inferior to that of Bluetooth. Its limitations include only being able to communicate point-to-point, needing a line of sight, and it has a speed of fifty- six kilobytes per second, whereas Bluetooth is one megabyte per second. [Ganguli, p. 17] The Ultra- Wideband Radio is superior to that of Bluetooth in that it can transmit at greater lengths (up to 70 metres), with only half of the power that Bluetooth uses. [Ganguli, p.17] HomeRF is a technology that is not very well known. It is used for data and voice communication and targeted for the residential market segment and does not serve enterprise- class WLANs, public access systems or fixed wireless Internet access. [Ganguli, p.17-18]

    Bluetooth- Technical Introduction

    Bluetooth is a short- range radio device that replaces cables with low power radio waves to connect electronic devices, whether they are portable or fixed. The Bluetooth device also uses frequency hopping to ensure a secure, quality link, and it uses ad hoc networks, meaning that it connects peer-to-peer. It can be operated worldwide and without a network because it uses the unlicensed Industrial- Scientific Medical (ISM) band for transmission that varies with a change in location. [Ganguli, p. 25-6] The Bluetooth user has the choice of point-to-point or point-to-multipoint links whereby communication can be held between two devices, or up to eight. [Ganguli, p. 96] When devices are communicating with each other they are known as piconets, and each device is designated as a master unit or slave unit, usually depending on who initiates the connection. However, both devices have the potential to be either a master or a slave. [Swaminatha and Elden, p. 49]

    Bluetooth- Advantages

    There are many advantages to using Bluetooth wireless technologies including the use of a radio frequency, the inexpensive cost of the device, replacing tedious cable connections, the low power use and implemented security measures. The use of an unlicensed radio frequency ensures that users do not need to gain a license in order to use it. Unlike Infrared which needs to have a line of sight in order to work, Bluetooth radio waves are omnidirectional and do not need a clear path. The device itself is relatively cheap and easy to use, one can be bought for around ten American dollars, and this price is currently decreasing. Compare this to the expensive cost of implementing hundreds of cables and wires into an office and there is no competition. Of course, this is the main reason for the take -up in Bluetooth -enabled devices; it does away with cables. Another of Bluetooths advantages is its low power use, ensuring that battery operated devices such as mobile phones and personal digital assistants wont have their battery life drained with the use of it. This low power consumption also guarantees minimal interruption from other radio operated and wireless devices that operate at a higher power. Bluetooth has several enabled security measures that ensures a level of privacy and security, including frequency hopping, whereby the device changes radio frequency sixteen hundred times per second. Also within the security tools are encryption and authentification mechanisms that guarantee little interference by unauthorised hackers. [Ganguli, p. 330] One of the best advantages of Bluetooth devices, especially the hands free device that connects to a mobile phone, is that it removes radiation from the brain region. [Tsang, p.1]

    Bluetooth- Applications

    The applications that are in development or current use for the Bluetooth technology include such areas as automotive, medical, industrial equipment, output equipment, digital -still cameras, computers, and communications systems. [Lightman and Rojas, p. 201] Bluetooth is an ad hoc network user, and therefore it may be used for social networking, i.e. people can meet and share files or link their Bluetooth devices together to play games or other such activities. [Smyth, p. 70] Using Bluetooth, a mobile phone can become a three- way phone, where at home it connects to a landline for cheaper calls, on the move it acts as a mobile phone and when it comes in contact with another Bluetooth-enabled phone it acts as a walkie- talkie. This walkie- talkie option allows for free interaction and communication, as Bluetooth is not connected to any telecommunications network. [Gupta, p.1] Bluetooth also allows automatic synchronization of your desktop, mobile computer, notebook and your mobile phone for the user to have all of their data managed as one. [Gupta, p.1]

    Bluetooth- Security Issues

    Bluetooth has several threats which range in level of risk and how widespread the action is. These threats have the ability to provide criminals with sensitive information on both corporate and personal levels. The only way to avoid such threats is for manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to be provided with more information on how they are committed, current attack activity and how to combat them. This information can be used on a technical level for manufacturers, it can be used by distributors at retail levels to teach consumers the risks and it can be used directly by consumers to be aware of the threats. The outcome of such research will allow end users of Bluetooth products to have an upper hand in this wireless warfare. Bluetooth security is in early stages with regards to both the attackers, their techniques and consumers understanding of these attacks. Some research has been conducted into what the attackers are doing and how they do it. Adam Laurie of A.L Digital Ltd is leading the research race in Bluetooth security and is often linked to academic resources. Laurie’s research has uncovered the following capabilities of Bluetooth attacks:

    • Confidential data such as the entire phone book, calender and the phone’s IMEI.
    • Complete memory contents of some mobile phones can be accessed by a previously trusted (“paired”) device that has since been removed from the trusted list.
    • Access can be gained to the AT command set of the device, giving full access to the higher level commands and channels, such as data, voice and messaging.

    Attacks on Bluetooth devices at this stage are relatively new to consumers, and therefore are not widely seen as a real threat. Attacks such as the Bluejack attack are probably more recognised by consumers due to its perceived humorous and novelty nature as well as the ease to Bluejack someone. Users who allow their phone to be Bluejacked open the door to more serious attacks, such as the Backdoor attack which have a low level of awareness amongst consumers as attackers can attach to the device with out the users knowledge. Corporations are starting to understand the risks Bluetooth devices pose, Michael Ciarochi (in Brewin 2004) stated that ‘Bluetooth radios were included in laptop PCs that were being configured by an IT Engineer. It raises the possibility of opening a wireless back door into data stored on the PCs. Such a security weakness would be extremely attractive to hackers. Although Bluetooth invites hackers to such attacks; Bluetooth Venders are playing down the risks, Brewin (2004) said that ‘Bluetooth advocates last week dismissed growing security fears about the short-range wireless technology, saying any flaws are limited to a few mobile-phone models. They also detailed steps that users can take to secure Bluetooth devices’. There are many methods of Bluetooth attacks, the Snarf, the Backdoor, Bluebug, Bluejack and Warnibbling attack are the only recognised attacks at this early stage. Below are explanations of such attacks.

    The SNARF attack

    It is possible for attackers to connect to the device without alerting the user, once in the system sensitive data can be retrieved, such as the phone book, business cards, images, messages and voice messages.

    Local Copy: BlueSnarf_CeBIT2004.pdf

    The BACKDOOR attack

    The backdoor attack is a higher concern for Bluetooth users; it allows attackers to establishing a trust relationship through the “pairing” mechanism, but ensuring that the user can not see the target’s register of paired devices. In doing this attackers have access to all the data on the device, as well as access to use the modem or internet; WAP and GPRS gateways may be accessed without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

    The BLUEBUG attack

    This attack gives access to the AT command set, in other words it allows the attacker to make premium priced phone calls, allows the use of SMS, or connection the internet. Attackers can not only use the device for such fraudulent exercises it also allows identity theft to impersonate the user.


    Dibble (2004) explained that ‘Just as SMS was spawned, there’s a new craze that’s spreading across parts of Europe. Reportedly, it’s more prominent in the UK, but popular elsewhere too’. Bluejacking allows attackers to send messages to strangers in public via Bluetooth. When the phones ‘pair’ the attacked can write a message to the user. Although it may seem harmless at first, there is a downside. Once connected the attacker may then have access to any data on the users Bluetooth device, which has obvious concerns. Powell (2004: 22) explained that ‘Users can refuse any incoming message or data, so Bluejackers change their username to a short barb or compliment to beat you to the punch. For example, you might receive something along the lines of “Incoming message from: Dude, you’ve been Bluejacked.” Or, “Incoming message from: ROI is overrated.” Bluejacking is regarded as a smaller threat to Bluetooth as users being attacked are aware they have been Bluejacked. This does not mean however that they are aware that sensitive information is being accessed and used in a malicious manner.


    Warnibbling is a hacking technique using Redfang, or similar software that allows hackers to reveal corporate or personal sensitive information. Redfang allows hackers to find Bluetooth devices in the area, once found, the software takes you through the process of accessing any data that is stored on that device. Redfang also allows non-discoverable devices to be found. Whitehouse explains when testing Redfang ‘One of the first obstacles we had to overcome was the discovery of non-discoverable devices (it was surprising to see the number of devices that dont by default implement this security measure)’.

    Future of Bluetooth

    Further information, and somewhat speculation is required for consumers and Bluetooth stakeholders on the future of Bluetooth. Such information will provide a clearer understanding of why security of Bluetooth must be improved. Luo and Lee (2004) provide a short term prediction of where Bluetooth is heading, Europe and Asian countries already offer electronic newspapers, subway tickets, and car parking fees via wireless devices. Collins (2003) says that Bluetooth devices ‘appear to be more secure than 802.11 wireless LANs. However, this situation may not last, as the Bluetooth technology becomes more widespread and attracts greater interest from the hacking community’.

    See also:

    Reference List

    • Brodsky, I. (1995) Wireless: The Revolution in Personal Telecommunications, Massachussetts, USA: Artech House Inc, ISBN 0890067171 (Erin Watson)
    • Collins, G. (2003) Bluetooth Security. [Online], Available: Academic Search Elite, ISSN:0360-5280 [Accessed 6/9/04]. (Ben Henzell)
    • Dibble, T (2003) ‘Bluejack city: a new wireless craze is spreading through Europe’ [Online]. Available: [Accessed 4/8/04. (Ben Henzell)
    • Finn, E. (2004) Be carefull when you cut the cord. Popular Science [Online], vol. 264, issue. 5, p30. Available: Ebsco Host: Academic Search Elite, ISSN:0161-7370 [Accessed 6/9/04]. (Ben Henzell)
    • Flichy, P. (1995) Dynamics of Modern Communication, London: Sage Publications, ISBN 0803978502 (Erin Watson)
    • Ganguli, M. (2002) Getting Started with Bluetooth, Ohio: Premier Press, ISBN 1931841837 (Erin Watson)
    • Gupta, P. 1999. Bluetooth Technology: What are the Applications?. (accessed August 23, 2004). (Erin Watson)
    • Laurie, B & L (2003) Serious flaws in Bluetooth security lead to disclosure of personal data [Online]. Available: [Accessed 4th Aug 2004]. (Ben Henzell)
    • Lightman, A. and Rojas, W. (2002) Brave New Unwired World, New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., ISBN 0471441104 (Erin Watson)
    • Luo, X. Lee, C. (2004). Micropayments in Wireless M-Commerce: Issues, Security, and Trend[Online]. Available: [Accessed 4/8/2004] (Ben Henzell)
    • Morrow, R. (2002) Bluetooth Operation and Use, New York, USA: The McGraw- Hill Companies, ISBN 007138779X (Erin Watson)
    • Powell, W. (2004) The Wild Wild Web T+D [Online], Vol. 58, issue. 1, p22. Available: Academic Search Elite, ISSN:1535-7740 [Accessed 6/9/04]. (Ben Henzell)
    • Smyth, P. (ed.)(2004) Mobile and Wireless Communications: Key Technologies and Future Applications, London, UK: The Institute of Electrical Engineers, ISBN 0863413684 (Erin Watson)
    • Swaminatha, T. and Elden, C. (2003) Wireless Security and Privacy: Best Practices and Design Techniques, Massachussetts, USA: Pearson Education, Inc., ISBN 0201760347 (Erin Watson)
    • Tsang, W. et al. Date unknown. Bluetooth Applications. (accessed August 23, 2004). (Erin Watson)
    • Whitehouse, O. (2003).’War Nibbling: Bluetooth Insecurity’ [Online]. Available: [Accessed 9/8/04] (Ben Henzell)

    Erin Watson 08:47, 8 Sep 2004 (EST) –nhenzell 12:30, 8 Sep 2004 (EST)

    Serious flaws in bluetooth security lead to disclosure of personal data




    In November 2003, Adam Laurie of A.L. Digital Ltd. discovered that there are serious flaws in the authentication and/or data transfer mechanisms on some bluetooth enabled devices. Specifically, three vulnerabilities have been found:

    Firstly, confidential data can be obtained, anonymously, and without the owner’s knowledge or consent, from some bluetooth enabled mobile phones. This data includes, at least, the entire phone book and calendar, and the phone’s IMEI.

    Secondly, it has been found that the complete memory contents of some mobile phones can be accessed by a previously trusted (“paired”) device that has since been removed from the trusted list. This data includes not only the phonebook and calendar, but media files such as pictures and text messages. In essence, the entire device can be “backed up” to an attacker’s own system.

    Thirdly, access can be gained to the AT command set of the device, giving full access to the higher level commands and channels, such as data, voice and messaging. This third vulnerability was identified by Martin Herfurt, and they have since started working together on finding additional possible exploits resulting from this vulnerability.

    Finally, the current trend for “Bluejacking” is promoting an environment which puts consumer devices at greater risk from the above attacks.

    The SNARF attack:
    It is possible, on some makes of device, to connect to the device without alerting the owner of the target device of the request, and gain access to restricted portions of the stored data therein, including the entire phonebook (and any images or other data associated with the entries), calendar, real-time clock, business card, properties, change log, IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity [6], which uniquely identifies the phone to the mobile network, and is used in illegal phone ‘cloning’). This is normally only possible if the device is in “discoverable” or “visible” mode, but there are tools available on the Internet that allow even this safety net to be bypassed[4]. Further details will not be released at this time (see below for more on this), but the attack can and will be demonstrated to manufacturers and press if required.

    The BACKDOOR attack:
    The backdoor attack involves establishing a trust relationship through the “pairing” mechanism, but ensuring that it no longer appears in the target’s register of paired devices. In this way, unless the owner is actually observing their device at the precise moment a connection is established, they are unlikely to notice anything untoward, and the attacker may be free to continue to use any resource that a trusted relationship with that device grants access to (but note that so far we have only tested file transfers). This means that not only can data be retrieved from the phone, but other services, such as modems or Internet, WAP and GPRS gateways may be accessed without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Indications are that once the backdoor is installed, the above SNARF attack will function on devices that previously denied access, and without the restrictions of a plain SNARF attack, so we strongly suspect that the other services will prove to be available also.

    The BLUEBUG attack:
    The bluebug attack creates a serial profile connection to the device, thereby giving full access to the AT command set, which can then be exploited using standard off the shelf tools, such as PPP for networking and gnokii for messaging, contact management, diverts and initiating calls. With this facility, it is possible to use the phone to initiate calls to premium rate numbers, send sms messages, read sms messages, connect to data services such as the Internet, and even monitor conversations in the vicinity of the phone. This latter is done via a voice call over the GSM network, so the listening post can be anywhere in the world. Bluetooth access is only required for a few seconds in order to set up the call. Call forwarding diverts can be set up, allowing the owner’s incoming calls to be intercepted, either to provide a channel for calls to more expensive destinations, or for identity theft by impersonation of the victim.

    Although known to the technical community and early adopters for some time, the process now known as “Bluejacking”[1] has recently come to the fore in the consumer arena, and is becoming a popular mechanism for exchanging anonymous messages in public places. The technique involves abusing the bluetooth “pairing”[2] protocol, the system by which bluetooth devices authenticate each other, to pass a message during the initial “handshake” phase. This is possible because the “name” of the initiating bluetooth device is displayed on the target device as part of the handshake exchange, and, as the protocal allows a large user defined name field – up to 248 characters – the field itself can be used to pass the message. This is all well and good, and, on the face of it, fairly harmless, but, unfortunately, there is a down side. There is a potential security problem with this, and the more the practice grows and is accepted by the user community, and leveraged as a marketing tool by the vendors, the worse it will get. The problem lies in the fact that the protocol being abused is designed for information exchange. The ability to interface with other devices and exchange, update and synchronise data, is the raison d’être of bluetooth. The bluejacking technique is using the first part of a process that allows that exchange to take place, and is therefore open to further abuse if the handshake completes and the “bluejacker” successfully pairs with the target device. If such an event occurs, then all data on the target device becomes available to the initiator, including such things as phone books, calendars, pictures and text messages. As the current wave of PDA and telephony integration progresses, the volume and quality of such data will increase with the devices’ capabilities, leading to far more serious potential compromise. Given the furore that irrupted when a second-hand Blackberry PDA was sold without the previous owner’s data having been wiped[3], it is alarming to think of the consequences of a single bluejacker gathering an entire corporate staff’s contact details by simply attending a conference or camping outside their building or in their foyer with a bluetooth capable device and evil intent. Of course, corporates are not the only potential targets – a bluejacking expedition to, say, The House of Commons, or The US Senate, could provide some interesting, valuable and, who’s to say, potentially damaging or compromising data.<<<


    The above may sound alarmist and far fetched, and the general reaction would probably be that most users would not be duped into allowing the connection to complete, so the risk is small. However, in today’s society of instant messaging, the average consumer is under a constant barrage of unsolicited messages in one form or another, whether it be by SPAM email, or “You have won!” style SMS text messages, and do not tend to treat them with much suspicion (although they may well be sceptical about the veracity of the offers). Another message popping up on their ‘phone saying something along the lines of “You have won 10,000 pounds! Enter this 4 digit PIN number and then dial 0900-SUCKER to collect your prize!” is unlikely to cause much alarm, and is more than likely to succeed in many cases.

    Workarounds and fixes
    We are not aware of any workarounds for the SNARF or BLUEBUG attacks at this time, other than to switch off bluetooth. For permanent fixes, see the ‘Fixes’ section at the bottom of the page.

    To permanently remove a pairing, and protect against future BACKDOOR attacks, it seems you must perform a factory reset, but this will, of course, erase all your personal data.

    To avoid Bluejacking, “just say no”. :)

    The above methods work to the best of our knowledge, but, as the devices affected are running closed-source proprietary software, it not possible to verify that without the collaboration of the manufacturers. We therefore make no claims as to the level of protection they provide, and you must continue to use bluetooth at your own risk.

    Who’s Vulnerable
    To date the quantity of devices tested is not great. However, due to the fact that they are amongst the most popular brands, we still consider the affected group to be large. It is also assumed that there are shared implementations of the bluetooth stack, so what affects one model is likely to affect others. This table is accurate to the best of our knowledge, but without the cooperation of the manufacturers (which we currently do not have), it is not possible to conduct more extensive validation.

    The devices known to be vulnerable at this time are:

    Vulnerability Matrix (* = NOT Vulnerable)
    MakeModelFirmware RevBACKDOORSNARF when VisibleSNARF when NOT VisibleBUG
    Sony EricssonR520m20R2G?YesNo?
    Sony EricssonT68i20R1B
    Sony EricssonT61020R1A081
    Sony EricssonT61020R1A081???Yes
    Sony EricssonZ1010??Yes??
    Sony EricssonZ60020R2C007
    Nokia7650?YesNo (+)?No
    * SiemensS55?NoNoNoNo
    * SiemensSX1?NoNoNoNo
    MotorolaV600 (++)?NoNoNoYes
    MotorolaV80 (++)?NoNoNoYes

    + We now believe the 7650 is only vulnerable to SNARF if it has already been BACKDOORed.
    ++ The V600 and V80 are discoverable for only 60 seconds, when first powered on or when this feature is user selected, and the window for BDADDR discovery is therefore very small. Motorola have stated that they will correct the vulnerability in current firmware.

    What is the Philosophy of Full Disclosure, and why are we providing the tools and detailing the methods that allow this to be done? The reasoning is simple – by exposing the problem we are achieving two goals: firstly, to alert users that the dangers exist, in order that they can take their own precautions against compromise, and secondly, to put pressure on manufacturers to rectify the situation. Consumers have a right to expect that their confidential data is treated as such, and is not subject to simple compromise by poorly implemented protocols on consumer devices. Manufacturers have a duty of care to ensure that such protection is provided, but, in practice, commercial considerations will often take precedence, and, given the choice, they may choose to simply supress or hide the problem, or, even worse, push for laws that prevent the discovery and/or disclosure of such flaws[5]. In our humble opinion, laws provide scant consumer protection against the lawless.

    After 13 months, and in consideration of the fact that affected manufacturers had acknowledged the issues and made updated firmware available, Full Disclosure took place at the Chaos Computer Club’s annual congress – 21C3, in Berlin, 2004.

    Slides from the disclosure talk can be found here:

    Proof of concept utilities have been developed, but are not yet available in the wild. They are:

    • bluestumbler – Monitor and log all visible bluetooth devices (name, MAC, signal strength, capabilities), and identify manufacturer from MAC address lookup.
    • bluebrowse – Display available services on a selected device (FAX, Voice, OBEX etc).
    • bluejack – Send anoymous message to a target device (and optionally broadcast to all visible devices).
    • bluesnarf – Copy data from target device (everything if pairing succeeds, or a subset in other cases, including phonebook and calendar. In the latter case, user will not be alerted by any bluejack message).
    • bluebug – Set up covert serial channel to device.
      Tools will not be released at this time, so please do not ask. However, if you are a bona-fide manufacturer of bluetooth devices that we have been otherwise unable to contact, please feel free to get in touch for more details on how you can identify your device status.

    The above vulnerabilities were discovered by Adam Laurie, during the course of his work with A.L. Digital, in November 2003, and this announcement was prepared thereafter by Adam and Ben Laurie for immediate release.

    Adam Laurie is Managing Director and Chief Security Officer of A.L. Digital Ltd.

    Ben Laurie is Technical Director of A.L. Digital, and author of Apache-SSL and contributor to many other open source projects, too numerous to expand on here.

    A.L. Digital Ltd. are the owner operators of The Bunker, the world’s most secure data centre(s).


    Further information relating to this disclosure will be updated at






    • bluesniff
    • btscanner
    • redfang