Formal Analysis and Patching of BLE-SC Pairing


Min Shi, Jing Chen, Kun He, Haoran Zhao, Meng Jia, and Ruiying Du, Wuhan University


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the mainstream Bluetooth standard and BLE Secure Connections (BLC-SC) pairing is a protocol that authenticates two Bluetooth devices and derives a shared secret key between them. Although BLE-SC pairing employs well-studied cryptographic primitives to guarantee its security, a recent study revealed a logic flaw in the protocol.

In this paper, we develop the first comprehensive formal model of the BLE-SC pairing protocol. Our model is compliant with the latest Bluetooth specification version 5.3 and covers all association models in the specification to discover attacks caused by the interplay between different association models. We also partly loosen the perfect cryptography assumption in traditional symbolic analysis approaches by designing a low-entropy key oracle to detect attacks caused by the poorly derived keys. Our analysis confirms two existing attacks and discloses a new attack. We propose a countermeasure to fix the flaws found in the BLE-SC pairing protocol and discuss the backward compatibility. Moreover, we extend our model to verify the countermeasure, and the results demonstrate its effectiveness in our extended model.

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@inproceedings {287101,
author = {Min Shi and Jing Chen and Kun He and Haoran Zhao and Meng Jia and Ruiying Du},
title = {Formal Analysis and Patching of {BLE-SC} Pairing},
booktitle = {32nd USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 23)},
year = {2023},
isbn = {978-1-939133-37-3},
address = {Anaheim, CA},
pages = {37--52},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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