Bluetooth

Bluetooth

[bloo-tooth]

Bluetooth is a wireless protocol utilizing short-range communications technology facilitating data transmission over short distances from fixed and/or mobile devices, creating wireless personal area networks (PANs). The intent behind the development of Bluetooth was the creation of a single digital wireless protocol, capable of connecting multiple devices and overcoming problems arising from synchronization of these devices. Bluetooth uses a radio technology called frequency hopping spread spectrum. It chops up the data being sent and transmits chunks of it on up to 75 different frequencies. In its basic mode, the modulation is Gaussian frequency shift keying (GFSK). It can achieve a gross data rate of 1 Mb/s. Bluetooth provides a way to connect and exchange information between devices such as mobile phones, telephones, laptops, personal computers, printers, GPS receivers, digital cameras, and video game consoles over a secure, globally unlicensed Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) 2.4 GHz short-range radio frequency bandwidth. The Bluetooth specifications are developed and licensed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The Bluetooth SIG consists of companies in the areas of telecommunication, computing, networking, and consumer electronics.

Uses

Bluetooth is a standard and communications protocol primarily designed for low power consumption, with a short range (power-class-dependent: 1 meter, 10 meters, 100 meters) based on low-cost transceiver microchips in each device. Bluetooth enables these devices to communicate with each other when they are in range. The devices use a radio communications system, so they do not have to be in line of sight of each other, and can even be in different rooms, as long as the received transmission is powerful enough. Bluetooth device class indicates the type of device and the supported services of which the information is transmitted during the discovery process.

Class Maximum Permitted Power
mW(dBm)
Range
(approximate)
Class 1 100 mW (20 dBm) ~100 meters
Class 2 2.5 mW (4 dBm) ~10 meters
Class 3 1 mW (0 dBm) ~1 meter

In most cases the effective range of class 2 devices is extended if they connect to a class 1 transceiver, compared to a pure class 2 network. This is accomplished by the higher sensitivity and transmission power of Class 1 devices.

Version Data Rate
Version 1.2 1 Mbit/s
Version 2.0 + EDR 3 Mbit/s
WiMedia Alliance
(proposed)
53 - 480 Mbit/s

Bluetooth profiles

In order to use Bluetooth, a device must be compatible with certain Bluetooth profiles. These define the possible applications and uses of the technology.

List of applications

More prevalent applications of Bluetooth include:

  • Wireless control of and communication between a mobile phone and a hands-free headset. This was one of the earliest applications to become popular.
  • Wireless networking between PCs in a confined space and where little bandwidth is required.
  • Wireless communication with PC input and output devices, the most common being the mouse, keyboard and printer.
  • Transfer of files between devices with OBEX.
  • Transfer of contact details, calendar appointments, and reminders between devices with OBEX.
  • Replacement of traditional wired serial communications in test equipment, GPS receivers, medical equipment, bar code scanners, and traffic control devices.
  • For controls where infrared was traditionally used.
  • Sending small advertisements from Bluetooth enabled advertising hoardings to other, discoverable, Bluetooth devices.
  • Two seventh-generation game consoles, Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3, use Bluetooth for their respective wireless controllers.
  • Dial-up internet access on personal computers or PDAs using a data-capable mobile phone as a modem.

Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi in networking

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi have many applications in today's offices, homes, and on the move: setting up networks, printing, or transferring presentations and files from PDAs to computers. Both are versions of unlicensed wireless technology. Wi-Fi differs from Bluetooth in that it provides higher throughput and covers greater distances, but requires more expensive hardware and may present higher power consumption.

They use the same frequency range, but employ different modulation techniques. While Bluetooth is a replacement for cabling in a variety of small-scale applications, Wi-Fi is a replacement for cabling for general local area network access.

Bluetooth devices

Bluetooth exists in many products, such as telephones, modems and headsets. The technology is useful when transferring information between two or more devices that are near each other in low-bandwidth situations. Bluetooth is commonly used to transfer sound data with telephones (i.e. with a Bluetooth headset) or byte data with hand-held computers (transferring files).

Bluetooth protocols simplify the discovery and setup of services between devices. Bluetooth devices can advertise all of the services they provide. This makes using services easier because more of the security, network address and permission configuration can be automated than with many other network types.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is more like a traditional Ethernet network, and requires configuration to set up shared resources, transmit files, and to set up audio links (for example, headsets and hands-free devices). Wi-Fi uses the same radio frequencies as Bluetooth, but with higher power resulting in a stronger connection. Wi-Fi is sometimes called "wireless Ethernet." This description is accurate as it also provides an indication of its relative strengths and weaknesses. Wi-Fi requires more setup, but is better suited for operating full-scale networks; it enables a faster connection, better range from the base station, and better security than Bluetooth.

Computer requirements

A personal computer must have a Bluetooth adapter in order to communicate with other Bluetooth devices (such as mobile phones, mice and keyboards). While some desktop computers and most recent laptops come with a built-in Bluetooth adapter, others will require an external one in the form of a dongle.

Unlike its predecessor, IrDA, which requires a separate adapter for each device, Bluetooth allows multiple devices to communicate with a computer over a single adapter.

Operating system support

Apple has supported Bluetooth since Mac OS X v10.2 which was released in 2002.

For Microsoft platforms, Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later releases have native support for Bluetooth. Previous versions required users to install their Bluetooth adapter's own drivers, which were not directly supported by Microsoft. Microsoft's own Bluetooth dongles (packaged with their Bluetooth computer devices) have no external drivers and thus require at least Windows XP Service Pack 2.

Linux has two popular Bluetooth stacks, BlueZ and Affix. The BlueZ stack is included with most Linux kernels and it was originally developed by Qualcomm. The Affix stack was developed by Nokia. FreeBSD features Bluetooth support since its 5.0 release. NetBSD features Bluetooth support since its 4.0 release. Its Bluetooth stack has been ported to OpenBSD as well.

Mobile Phone requirements

A mobile phone that is Bluetooth enabled is able to pair with many devices. To ensure the broadest support of feature functionality together with legacy device support, the OMTP forum has recently published a recommendations paper, entitled "Bluetooth Local Connectivity"; see external links below to download this paper.

This publication recommends two classes, Basic and Advanced, with requirements that cover imaging, printing, stereo audio and in-car usage.

Specifications and features

The Bluetooth specification was developed in 1994 by Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson, who were working for Ericsson Mobile Platforms in Lund, Sweden. The specification is based on frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology.

The specifications were formalized by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG was formally announced on May 20, 1998. Today it has a membership of over 11,000 companies worldwide. It was established by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Toshiba, and Nokia, and later joined by many other companies.

Bluetooth 1.0 and 1.0B

Versions 1.0 and 1.0B had many problems, and manufacturers had difficulty making their products interoperable. Versions 1.0 and 1.0B also included mandatory Bluetooth hardware device address (BD_ADDR) transmission in the Connecting process (rendering anonymity impossible at the protocol level), which was a major setback for certain services planned for use in Bluetooth environments.

Bluetooth 1.1

  • Ratified as IEEE Standard 802.15.1-2002.
  • Many errors found in the 1.0B specifications were fixed.
  • Added support for non-encrypted channels.
  • Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI).

Bluetooth 1.2

This version is backward-compatible with 1.1 and the major enhancements include the following:

  • Faster Connection and Discovery
  • Adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum (AFH), which improves resistance to radio frequency interference by avoiding the use of crowded frequencies in the hopping sequence.
  • Higher transmission speeds in practice, up to 721 kbit/s, than in 1.1.
  • Extended Synchronous Connections (eSCO), which improve voice quality of audio links by allowing retransmissions of corrupted packets, and may optionally increase audio latency to provide better support for concurrent data transfer.
  • Host Controller Interface (HCI) support for three-wire UART.
  • Ratified as IEEE Standard 802.15.1-2005.

Bluetooth 2.0

This version of the Bluetooth specification was released on November 10, 2004. It is backward-compatible with the previous version 1.1. The main difference is the introduction of an Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) for faster data transfer. The nominal rate of EDR is about 3 megabits per second, although the practical data transfer rate is 2.1 megabits per second. The additional throughput is obtained by using a different radio technology for transmission of the data. Standard, or Basic Rate, transmission uses Gaussian Frequency Shift Keying (GFSK) modulation of the radio signal; EDR uses a combination of GFSK and Phase Shift Keying (PSK) modulation.

According to the 2.0 specification, EDR provides the following benefits:

  • Three times faster transmission speed — up to 10 times (2.1 Mbit/s) in some cases.
  • Reduced complexity of multiple simultaneous connections due to additional bandwidth.
  • Lower power consumption through a reduced duty cycle.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) published the specification as "Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR" which implies that EDR is an optional feature. Aside from EDR, there are other minor improvements to the 2.0 specification, and products may claim compliance to "Bluetooth 2.0" without supporting the higher data rate. At least one commercial device, the HTC TyTN pocket PC phone, states "Bluetooth 2.0 without EDR" on its data sheet.

Bluetooth 2.1

Bluetooth Core Specification Version 2.1 is fully backward-compatible with 1.1, and was adopted by the Bluetooth SIG on July 26, 2007. This specification includes the following features:

  • Extended inquiry response: provides more information during the inquiry procedure to allow better filtering of devices before connection. This information includes the name of the device, a list of services the device supports, plus other information like the time of day and pairing information.
  • Sniff subrating: reduces the power consumption when devices are in the sniff low-power mode, especially on links with asymmetric data flows. Human interface devices (HID) are expected to benefit the most, with mouse and keyboard devices increasing their battery life by a factor of 3 to 10. It lets devices decide how long they will wait before sending keepalive messages to one another. Previous Bluetooth implementations featured keep alive message frequencies of up to several times per second. In contrast, the 2.1 specification allows pairs of devices to negotiate this value between them to as infrequently as once every 5 or 10 seconds.
  • Encryption Pause Resume: enables an encryption key to be refreshed, enabling much stronger encryption for connections that stay up for longer than 23.3 hours (one Bluetooth day).
  • Secure Simple Pairing: radically improves the pairing experience for Bluetooth devices, while increasing the use and strength of security. It is expected that this feature will significantly increase the use of Bluetooth.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) cooperation: automatic creation of secure Bluetooth connections when NFC radio interface is also available. This functionality is part of the Secure Simple Pairing where NFC is one way of exchanging pairing information. For example, a headset should be paired with a Bluetooth 2.1 phone including NFC just by bringing the two devices close to each other (a few centimeters). Another example is automatic uploading of photos from a mobile phone or camera to a digital picture frame just by bringing the phone or camera close to the frame.

Future of Bluetooth

  • Broadcast Channel: enables Bluetooth information points. This will drive the adoption of Bluetooth into mobile phones, and enable advertising models based around users pulling information from the information points, and not based around the object push model that is used in a limited way today.
  • Topology Management: enables the automatic configuration of the piconet topologies especially in scatternet situations that are becoming more common today. This should all be invisible to the users of the technology, while also making the technology just work.
  • Alternate MAC PHY: enables the use of alternative MAC and PHY's for transporting Bluetooth profile data. The Bluetooth Radio will still be used for device discovery, initial connection and profile configuration, however when lots of data needs to be sent, the high speed alternate MAC PHY's will be used to transport the data. This means that the proven low power connection models of Bluetooth are used when the system is idle, and the low power per bit radios are used when lots of data needs to be sent.
  • QoS improvements: enable audio and video data to be transmitted at a higher quality, especially when best effort traffic is being transmitted in the same piconet.

High-speed Bluetooth

On March 28, 2006, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced its selection of the WiMedia Alliance Multi-Band Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (MB-OFDM) version of UWB for integration with current Bluetooth wireless technology.

UWB integration will create a version of Bluetooth wireless technology with a high-speed/high-data-rate option. This new version of Bluetooth technology will meet the high-speed demands of synchronizing and transferring large amounts of data, as well as enabling high-quality video and audio applications for portable devices, multi-media projectors and television sets, and wireless VOIP.

At the same time, Bluetooth technology will continue catering to the needs of very low power applications such as mouse, keyboards, and mono headsets, enabling devices to select the most appropriate physical radio for the application requirements, thereby offering the best of both worlds.

Bluetooth 3.0 (actual version number TBD)

The next version of Bluetooth after v2.1, code-named Seattle (the version number of which is TBD) has many of the same features, but is most notable for plans to adopt ultra-wideband (UWB) radio technology. This will allow Bluetooth use over UWB radio, enabling very fast data transfers of up to 480 Mbit/s, while building on the very low-power idle modes of Bluetooth.

Bluetooth low energy

On June 12, 2007, Nokia and Bluetooth SIG announced that Wibree will be a part of the Bluetooth specification, as an ultra-low power Bluetooth technology. Expected use cases include watches displaying Caller ID information, sports sensors monitoring your heart rate during exercise, and medical devices. The Medical Devices Working Group is also creating a medical devices profile and associated protocols to enable this market. Battery life for devices using Bluetooth low energy technology is designed to last up to one year.

Technical information

Bluetooth protocol stack

“Bluetooth is defined as a layer protocol architecture consisting of core protocols, cable replacement protocols, telephony control protocols, and adopted protocols”.

Mandatory protocols for all bluetooth stacks are: LMP, L2CAP and SDP

Additionally, these protocols are almost universally supported: HCI and RFCOMM

LMP (Link Management Protocol)

Used for control of the radio link between two devices. Implemented on the controller.

HCI (Host/Controller Interface)

Standardised communication between the Host stack (e.g. a PC or mobile phone OS) and the Controller (the bluetooth I.C.) This standard allows the host stack or controller I.C. to be swapped with minimal adaptation.

There are several HCI transport layer standards, each using a different hardware interface to transfer the same command, event and data packets. The most commonly used are USB (in PCs) and UART (in mobile phones and PDAs).

In bluetooth devices with simple functionality, e.g. headsets, the host stack and controller can be implemented on the same microprocessor. In this case the HCI is optional, although often implemented as an internal software interface.

L2CAP (Logical Link Control & Adaptation Protocol)

Used to multiplex multiple logical connections between two devices using different higher level protocols. Provides segmentation and reassembly of on-air packets. In basic mode, L2CAP provides reliable sequenced packets with a payload configurable up to 64kB, with 672 bytes as the minimum mandatory supported size. In retransmission & flow control modes, L2CAP can be configured for reliable or isochronous data per channel by configuring the number of retransmissions and flush timeout.

The EL2CAP specification adds an additional "enhanced mode" to the core specification, which is an improved version of retransmission & flow control modes.

SDP (Service Discovery Protocol)

Used to allow devices to discover what services each other support, and what parameters to use to connect to them. For example, when connecting a mobile phone to a bluetooth headset, SDP will be used to determine which bluetooth profiles are supported by the headset (Headset Profile, Hands Free Profile, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile etc) and the protocol multiplexor settings needed to connect to each of them. Each service is identified by a Universally Unique Identifier (UUID), with official services (Bluetooth profiles) assigned a short form UUID (16 bits rather than the full 128)

RFCOMM (Cable replacement protocol)

Radio frequency communications (RFCOMM) is the cable replacement protocol used to create a virtual serial port used to make replacement of cable technologies transparent through minimal modification of existing devices. RFCOMM provides for binary data transport and emulates EIA-232 (formerly RS-232) control signals over the Bluetooth baseband layer.

RFCOMM provides a simple reliable data stream to the user, similar to TCP. It is used directly by many telephony related profiles as a carrier for AT commands, as well as being a transport layer for OBEX over bluetooth.

Many bluetooth applications use RFCOMM because of its widespread support and publicly available API on most operating systems. Additionally, applications that used a serial port to communicate can be quickly ported to use RFCOMM.

BNEP (Bluetooth Network Encapsulation Protocol)

BNEP is used to transfer another protocol stack's data via an L2CAP channel. Its main purpose is the transmission of IP packets in the Personal Area Networking Profile. BNEP performs a similar function to SNAP in Wireless LAN.

AVCTP (Audio/Visual Control Transport Protocol)

Used by the remote control profile to transfer AV/C commands over an L2CAP channel. The music control buttons on a stereo headset use this protocol to control the music player

AVDTP (Audio/Visual Data Transport Protocol)

Used by the advanced audio distribution profile to stream music to stereo headsets over an L2CAP channel. Intended to be used by video distribution profile.

Telephony control protocol

Telephony control protocol-binary (TCS BIN) is the bit-oriented protocol that defines the call control signaling for the establishment of voice and data calls between Bluetooth devices. Additionally, “TCS BIN defines mobility management procedures for handling groups of Bluetooth TCS devices”

TCS-BIN is only used by the cordless telephony profile, which failed to attract implementers. As such it is only of historical interest.

Adopted protocols

Adopted protocols are defined by other standards-making organizations and incorporated into Bluetooth’s protocol stack, allowing Bluetooth to create protocols only when necessary. The adopted protocols include:

Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) – Internet standard protocol for transporting IP datagrams over a point-to-point link

TCP/IP/UDP – Foundation Protocols for TCP/IP protocol suite

Object Exchange Protocol (OBEX) – Session-layer protocol for the exchange of objects, providing a model for object and operation representation

Wireless Application Environment / Wireless Application Protocol (WAE/WAP) – WAE specifies an application framework for wireless devices and WAP is an open standard to provide mobile users access to telephony and information services.

Communication and connection

A master Bluetooth device can communicate with up to seven devices. This network group of up to eight devices is called a piconet.

A piconet is an ad-hoc computer network, using Bluetooth technology protocols to allow one master device to interconnect with up to seven active devices. Up to 255 further devices can be inactive, or parked, which the master device can bring into active status at any time.

At any given time, data can be transferred between the master and one other device, however, the devices can switch roles and the slave can become the master at any time. The master switches rapidly from one device to another in a round-robin fashion. (Simultaneous transmission from the master to multiple other devices is possible, but not used much.)

The Bluetooth specification allows connecting two or more piconets together to form a scatternet, with some devices acting as a bridge by simultaneously playing the master role in one piconet and the slave role in another.

Many USB Bluetooth adapters are available, some of which also include an IrDA adapter. Older (pre-2003) Bluetooth adapters, however, have limited services, offering only the Bluetooth Enumerator and a less-powerful Bluetooth Radio incarnation. Such devices can link computers with Bluetooth, but they do not offer much in the way of services that modern adapters do.

Setting up connections

Any Bluetooth device will transmit the following information on demand:

  • Device name.
  • Device class.
  • List of services.
  • Technical information, for example, device features, manufacturer, Bluetooth specification used, clock offset.

Any device may perform an inquiry to find other devices to connect to, and any device can be configured to respond to such inquiries. However, if the device trying to connect knows the address of the device, it always responds to direct connection requests and transmits the information shown in the list above if requested. Use of a device's services may require pairing or acceptance by its owner, but the connection itself can be initiated by any device and held until it goes out of range. Some devices can be connected to only one device at a time, and connecting to them prevents them from connecting to other devices and appearing in inquiries until they disconnect from the other device.

Every device has a unique 48-bit address. However these addresses are generally not shown in inquiries. Instead, friendly Bluetooth names are used, which can be set by the user. This name appears when another user scans for devices and in lists of paired devices.

Most phones have the Bluetooth name set to the manufacturer and model of the phone by default. Most phones and laptops show only the Bluetooth names and special programs are required to get additional information about remote devices. This can be confusing as, for example, there could be several phones in range named T610 (see Bluejacking).

Pairing

Pairs of devices may establish a trusted relationship by learning (by user input) a shared secret known as a passkey. A device that wants to communicate only with a trusted device can cryptographically authenticate the identity of the other device. Trusted devices may also encrypt the data that they exchange over the airwaves so that no one can listen in. The encryption can, however, be turned off, and passkeys are stored on the device file system, not on the Bluetooth chip itself. Since the Bluetooth address is permanent, a pairing is preserved, even if the Bluetooth name is changed. Pairs can be deleted at any time by either device. Devices generally require pairing or prompt the owner before they allow a remote device to use any or most of their services. Some devices, such as mobile phones, usually accept OBEX business cards and notes without any pairing or prompts.

Certain printers and access points allow any device to use their services by default, much like unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Pairing algorithms are sometimes manufacturer-specific for transmitters and receivers used in applications such as music and entertainment.

Bluetooth 2.1 has an optional "touch-to-pair" feature based on NFC. By simply bringing two devices into close range (around 10cm), pairing can securely take place without entering a passkey or manual configuration.

Air interface

The protocol operates in the license-free ISM band at 2.4-2.4835 GHz. To avoid interfering with other protocols that use the 2.45 GHz band, the Bluetooth protocol divides the band into 79 channels (each 1 MHz wide) and changes channels up to 1600 times per second. Implementations with versions 1.1 and 1.2 reach speeds of 723.1 kbit/s. Version 2.0 implementations feature Bluetooth Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) and reach 2.1 Mbit/s. Technically, version 2.0 devices have a higher power consumption, but the three times faster rate reduces the transmission times, effectively reducing power consumption to half that of 1.x devices (assuming equal traffic load).

Security

Overview

Bluetooth implements confidentiality, authentication and key derivation with custom algorithms based on the SAFER+ block cipher. In Bluetooth, key generation is generally based on a Bluetooth PIN, which must be entered into both devices. This procedure might be modified if one of the devices has a fixed PIN, e.g. for headsets or similar devices with a restricted user interface. During pairing, an initialization key or master key is generated, using the E22 algorithm. The E0 stream cipher is used for encrypting packets, granting confidentiality and is based on a shared cryptographic secret, namely a previously generated link key or master key. Those keys, used for subsequent encryption of data sent via the air interface, rely on the Bluetooth PIN, which has been entered into one or both devices.

An overview of Bluetooth vulnerabilities exploits has been published by Andreas Becker.

In September 2008, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a Guide to Bluetooth Security that will serve as reference to organization on the security capabilities of Bluetooth and steps for securing Bluetooth technologies effectively. While Bluetooth has its benefits, it is susceptible to denial of service attacks, eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attacks, message modification, and resource misappropriation. Users/organizations must evaluate their acceptable level of risk and incorporate security into the lifecycle of Bluetooth devices. To help mitigate risks, included in the NIST document are security checklists with guidelines and recommendations for creating and maintaining secure Bluetooth piconets, headsets, and smart card readers.

Bluejacking

Bluejacking is the sending of either a picture or a message from one user to an unsuspecting user through Bluetooth wireless technology. Common applications are short messages (e.g. "You’ve just been bluejacked!"), advertisements (e.g. "Eat at Joe’s"). and business information. Bluejacking does not involve the removal or alteration of any data from the device.

History of security concerns

2003

In November 2003, Ben and Adam Laurie from A.L. Digital Ltd. discovered that serious flaws in Bluetooth security may lead to disclosure of personal data. It should be noted, however, that the reported security problems concerned some poor implementations of Bluetooth, rather than the protocol itself.

In a subsequent experiment, Martin Herfurt from the trifinite.group was able to do a field-trial at the CeBIT fairgrounds, showing the importance of the problem to the world. A new attack called BlueBug was used for this experiment. This is one of a number of concerns that have been raised over the security of Bluetooth communications.

2004

In 2004 the first purported virus using Bluetooth to spread itself among mobile phones appeared on the Symbian OS. The virus was first described by Kaspersky Lab and requires users to confirm the installation of unknown software before it can propagate. The virus was written as a proof-of-concept by a group of virus writers known as "29A" and sent to anti-virus groups. Thus, it should be regarded as a potential (but not real) security threat to Bluetooth or Symbian OS since the virus has never spread in the wild.

In August 2004, a world-record-setting experiment (see also Bluetooth sniping) showed that the range of Class 2 Bluetooth radios could be extended to 1.78 km (1.08 mile) with directional antennas and signal amplifiers. This poses a potential security threat because it enables attackers to access vulnerable Bluetooth-devices from a distance beyond expectation. The attacker must also be able to receive information from the victim to set up a connection. No attack can be made against a Bluetooth device unless the attacker knows its Bluetooth address and which channels to transmit on.

2005

In January 2005, a mobile malware worm known as Lasco.A began targeting mobile phones using Symbian OS (Series 60 platform) using Bluetooth-enabled devices to replicate itself and spread to other devices. The worm is self-installing and begins once the mobile user approves the transfer of the file (velasco.sis ) from another device. Once installed, the worm begins looking for other Bluetooth-enabled devices to infect. Additionally, the worm infects other .SIS files on the device, allowing replication to another device through use of removable media (Secure Digital, Compact Flash, etc.). The worm can render the mobile device unstable.

In April 2005, Cambridge University security researchers published results of their actual implementation of passive attacks against the PIN-based pairing between commercial Bluetooth devices, confirming the attacks to be practicably fast and the Bluetooth symmetric key establishment method to be vulnerable. To rectify this vulnerability, they carried out an implementation which showed that stronger, asymmetric key establishment is feasible for certain classes of devices, such as mobile phones.

In June 2005, Yaniv Shaked and Avishai Wool published a paper describing both passive and active methods for obtaining the PIN for a Bluetooth link. The passive attack allows a suitably equipped attacker to eavesdrop on communications and spoof, if the attacker was present at the time of initial pairing. The active method makes use of a specially constructed message that must be inserted at a specific point in the protocol, to make the master and slave repeat the pairing process. After that, the first method can be used to crack the PIN. This attack's major weakness is that it requires the user of the devices under attack to re-enter the PIN during the attack when the device prompts them to. Also, this active attack probably requires custom hardware, since most commercially available Bluetooth devices are not capable of the timing necessary.

In August 2005, police in Cambridgeshire, England, issued warnings about thieves using Bluetooth-enabled phones to track other devices left in cars. Police are advising users to ensure that any mobile networking connections are de-activated if laptops and other devices are left in this way.

2006

In April 2006, researchers from Secure Network and F-Secure published a report that warns of the large number of devices left in a visible state, and issued statistics on the spread of various Bluetooth services and the ease of spread of an eventual Bluetooth worm.

In October 2007, at the Luxemburgish Hack.lu Security Conference, Kevin Finistere and Thierry Zoller demonstrated and released a remote root shell via Bluetooth on Mac OS X v10.3.9 and v10.4. They also demonstrated the first Bluetooth PIN and Linkkeys cracker, which is based on the research of Wool and Shaked.

Health concerns

Bluetooth uses the microwave radio frequency spectrum in the 2.4 GHz to 2.4835 GHz range. Maximum power output from a Bluetooth radio is 100 mW, 2.5 mW, and 1 mW for Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 devices respectively, which puts Class 1 at roughly the same level as mobile phones, and the other two classes much lower. Accordingly, Class 2 and Class 3 Bluetooth devices are considered less of a potential hazard than mobile phones, and Class 1 may be comparable to that of mobile phones.

Origin of the name and the logo

Bluetooth was named after a tenth-century king, Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark and Norway. Bluetooth is an anglicized version of Harald Blaatand, who was known for his unification of previously warring tribes from Denmark (including now Swedish Scania, where the Bluetooth technology was invented), and Norway. Bluetooth likewise was intended to unify different technologies, such as personal computers and mobile phones.

The name may have been inspired less by the historical Harald than the loose interpretation of him in The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson, a Swedish Viking-inspired novel.

The Bluetooth logo merges the Germanic runes analogous to the modern Latin letters H and B:  (for Harald Bluetooth) (Hagall) and (Berkanan) merged together, forming a bind rune.

See also

References

External links

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