A critical Bluetooth security flaw, tracked as CVE-2023-45866, has been identified, potentially allowing threat actors to take control of Android, Linux, macOS, and iOS devices. The vulnerability involves an authentication bypass, enabling attackers to connect to discoverable hosts without user confirmation and inject keystrokes, leading to code execution as the victim. Security researcher Marc Newlin disclosed the flaws to software vendors in August 2023, revealing that the attack exploits an “unauthenticated pairing mechanism” defined in the Bluetooth specification. Notably, the flaw affects a broad range of devices, including Android (version 4.2.2 and newer), iOS, Linux, and macOS. The attack involves tricking the target device into thinking it’s connected to a Bluetooth keyboard, leveraging the unauthenticated pairing mechanism.
The exploit doesn’t require specialized hardware and can be executed from a Linux computer using a regular Bluetooth adapter. Although additional technical details are expected to be released in the future, successful exploitation could enable adversaries in close physical proximity to connect to a vulnerable device and inject keystrokes, potentially installing apps and running arbitrary commands.
This Bluetooth vulnerability poses a significant risk, especially considering its impact on devices running Android versions dating back to November 2012. Even devices on macOS and iOS are affected, particularly when Bluetooth is enabled and a Magic Keyboard is paired. Intriguingly, the flaw can compromise Apple’s LockDown Mode, designed to enhance security against sophisticated digital threats.
Google’s advisory on the flaw notes that it could lead to remote escalation of privilege without requiring additional execution privileges, emphasizing the severity of the issue. Given the widespread use of Bluetooth-enabled devices, this vulnerability highlights the importance of prompt security updates and patches to mitigate potential risks.