Finding Traceability Attacks in the Bluetooth Low Energy Specification and Its Implementations


Jianliang Wu, Purdue University & Simon Fraser University; Patrick Traynor, University of Florida; Dongyan Xu, Dave (Jing) Tian, and Antonio Bianchi, Purdue University


Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) provides an efficient and convenient means for connecting a wide range of devices and peripherals. While its designers attempted to make tracking devices difficult through the use of MAC address randomization, a comprehensive analysis of the untraceability for the entire BLE protocol has not previously been conducted. In this paper, we create a formal model for BLE untraceability to reason about additional ways in which the specification allows for user tracking. Our model, implemented using ProVerif, transforms the untraceability problem into a reachability problem, and uncovers four previously unknown issues, namely IRK (Identity Resolving Key) reuse, BD_ADDR (MAC Address of Bluetooth Classic) reuse, CSRK (Connection Signature Resolving Key) reuse, and ID_ADDR (Identity Address) reuse, enabling eight passive or active tracking attacks against BLE. We then build another formal model using Diff-Equivalence (DE) as a comparison to our reachability model. Our evaluation of the two models demonstrates the soundness of our reachability model, whereas the DE model is neither sound nor complete. We further confirm these vulnerabilities in 13 different devices, ranging from embedded systems to laptop computers, with each device having at least 2 of the 4 issues. We finally provide mitigations for both developers and end users. In so doing, we demonstrate that BLE systems remain trackable under several common scenarios.

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