Connection Dumping Vulnerability Affecting Bluetooth Availability

  • Karim LounisEmail author
  • Mohammad ZulkernineEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11391)


Over the last few years, Bluetooth technology has been deployed in millions of devices including laptops, watches, mobile phones, cars, printer, and many other devices. It has been rapidly adopted as a short-range wireless communication technology for different IoT applications such as smart cities, smart healthcare, and smart grids. Yet, little attention has been paid to Bluetooth security. In this paper, we report a new Bluetooth vulnerability, named connection dumping. We show that this vulnerability can be exploited to affect Bluetooth availability. We generate three attack scenarios which exploit the vulnerability to cause disconnection between Bluetooth devices. We also generate attack scenarios for Bluetooth role switching and connection deprivation. We demonstrate the occurrences of the attacks on Bluetooth devices made by various manufacturers, running different Bluetooth versions and operating systems, and recommend possible mitigations for them.


Bluetooth security Bluetooth threats Bluetooth pairing 



This work is partially supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program. At the same time, we would like to give special thanks to all QRST (Queen’s Reliable Software Technology) lab members for providing their Bluetooth devices: smartphones, laptops, and cars, to run the experimentations.


  1. 1.
    CTV-Calgary-News: Wireless waves used to track travel times. (2012). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  2. 2.
    Orthogonal: The growing significance of Bluetooth BTLE in healthcare. (2018). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  3. 3.
    EECatalog: Bluetooth 5 expands into the smart grid. (2017). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  4. 4.
    Laurie, A., Holtmann, M., Herfurt, M.: Hacking Bluetooth enabled mobile phones and beyond. (2007). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  5. 5.
    Barnickel, J., Wang, J., Meyer, U.: Implementing an attack on Bluetooth 2.1+ secure simple pairing in Passkey entry mode. In: The proceedings of the 11th IEEE International Conference on Trust, Security and Privacy in Computing and Communications, pp. 17–24 (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sun, D.Z., Mu, Y., Susilo, W.: Man-in-the-middle attacks on secure simple pairing in Bluetooth standard V5.0 and its countermeasure. Pers. Ubiquit. Comput. J. 22, 55–67 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Flexilis-Hackers-Group: Bluetooth-cracking gun: BlueSniper. (2004). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  8. 8.
    Jakobsson, M., Wetzel, S.: Security weaknesses in Bluetooth. In: Naccache, D. (ed.) CT-RSA 2001. LNCS, vol. 2020, pp. 176–191. Springer, Heidelberg (2001). Scholar
  9. 9.
    Armis: BlueBorne cyber threat impacts Amazon Echo and Google Home. (2017). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  10. 10.
    Herfurt, M.: Introducing the car whisperer at what the hack. (2005). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  11. 11.
    Spill, D., Bittau, A.: BlueSniff: Eve meets Alice and Bluetooth. In: T1st USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (2007)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mulliner, C., BlueSpam. (2013). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  13. 13.
    Laurie, A.: HeloMoto Bluetooth device planter. (2013). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  14. 14.
    Project-Ubertooth: An open source 2.4GHz wireless development platform suitable for Bluetooth experimentation. (2015). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  15. 15.
    Prabhu, C.S.R., Prathap, R.A.: Bluetooth Technology and its Applications with JAVA and J2ME. Prentice-Hall of India Pvt Ltd., Delhi (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zheng, P., Ni, L.: Smart Phone and Next Generation Mobile Computing. Morgan Kaufmann Series in Networking. Elsevier Science, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Pendli, P.K.: Contribution of Modelling and Analysis of Wireless Communication for Safety related Systems with Bluetooth Technology. Kassel University Press, Kassel (2014)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Aftab, M.U.B.: Building Bluetooth Low Energy Systems. Packt Publishing, Birmingham (2017)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Thompson, T.J., Kumar, C.B., Kline, P.J.: Bluetooth Application Programming with the Java APIs Essentials Edition. The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Networking. Elsevier Science, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Antony, R., Hopkins, B.: Bluetooth For Java. Apress, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    NIST: Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). (2001). Accessed 15 Sept 2018
  22. 22.
    Massey, J., Khachatrian, G., Kuregian, M.: Secure and fast encryption routine+. In: The 1st NIST Advanced Encryption Standard Candidate (1998)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bluetooth-SIG: Bluetooth Core Specification Version 5.0. Bluetooth Spec document (2018)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s Reliable Software Technology Lab, School of ComputingQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations