Hacking Bluetooth Firmware of WiFi Combo Chips in Mobile Devices
Implementing a WiFi Jammer on a Raspberry Pi
InternalBlue - A Bluetooth Experimentation Framework Based on Mobile Device Reverse Engineering
Reverse Engineering the Apple Auto Unlock Protocol
Self-Replicating Malware for Wi-Fi Chips
Wi-Fi based Covert Channels on Android Smartphones
Secure localization and distance bounding with IEEE 802.11
Nexman-based Wireless Penetration Testing Suite for Android
Probe request tracking in WiFi firmware
Reverse Engineering Apple’s Multipeer Connectivity Framework and Implementation on the Android platform
Wireless Eavesdropping and Pocket Injection in Ethernet Networks
Let’s go WARP: Integrating the Click Modular Router and the Wireless Open-Access Research Platform
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InternalBlue - Bluetooth Binary Patching and Experimentation Framework
Bluetooth is one of the most established technologies for short range digital wireless data transmission. With the advent of wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth has again gained importance, which makes security research and protocol optimizations imperative. Surprisingly, there is a lack of openly available tools and experimental platforms to scrutinize Bluetooth. In par ticular, system aspects and close to hardware protocol layers are mostly uncovered.
We reverse engineer multiple Broadcom Bluetooth chipsets that are widespread in off-the-shelf devices. Thus, we offer deep in sights into the internal architecture of a popular commercial family of Bluetooth controllers used in smartphones, wearables, and IoT platforms. Reverse engineered functions can then be altered with our InternalBlue Python framework—outperforming evaluation kits, which are limited to documented and vendor-defined functions. The modified Bluetooth stack remains fully functional and high-performance. Hence, it provides a portable low-cost research platform.
InternalBlue is a versatile framework and we demonstrate its abilities by implementing tests and demos for known Bluetooth vulnerabilities. Moreover, we discover a novel critical security issue affecting a large selection of Broadcom chipsets that allows executing code within the attacked Bluetooth firmware. We further show how to use our framework to fix bugs in chipsets out of vendor support and how to add new security features to Bluetooth firmware.
The Nexmon firmware analysis and modification framework: Empowering researchers to enhance Wi-Fi devices
The most widespread Wi-Fi enabled devices are smartphones. They are mobile, close to people and available in large quantities, which makes them perfect candidates for real-world wireless testbeds. Unfortunately, most smartphones contain closed-source FullMAC Wi-Fi chips that hinder the modification of lower-layer Wi-Fi mechanisms and the implementation of new algorithms. To enable researchers’ access to lower-layer frame processing and advanced physical-layer functionalities on Broadcom Wi-Fi chips, we developed the Nexmon firmware patching framework. It allows users to create firmware modifications for embedded ARM processors using C code and to change the behaviour of Broadcom’s real-time processor using Assembly. Currently, our framework supports nine Broadcom chips available in smartphones and Raspberry Pis. Our example patches enable monitor mode, frame injection, handling of ioctls, ucode compression, flashpatches, software-defined radio capabilities, channel state information extraction and access to debugging features. To enhance firmware analysis, we present a debugger application that directly accesses the debugging core of the ARM microcontroller executing the Wi-Fi firmware. Additionally, we discuss how Wi-Fi chips can be protected from malicious firmware while still allowing researchers to run custom code. Using Nexmon, researchers can unleash the full capabilities of off-the-shelf Wi-Fi devices.
Shadow Wi-Fi: Teaching Smartphones to Transmit Raw Signals and to Extract Channel State Information to Implement Practical Covert Channels over Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi chips offer vast capabilities, which are not accessible through the manufacturers’ official firmwares. Unleashing those capabilities can enable innovative applications on off-the-shelf devices. In this work, we demonstrate how to transmit raw IQ samples from a large buffer on Wi-Fi chips. We further show how to extract channel state information (CSI) on a per frame basis. As a proof-of-concept application, we build a covert channel on top of Wi-Fi to stealthily exchange information between two devices by prefiltering Wi-Fi frames prior to transmission. On the receiver side, the CSI is used to extract the embedded information. By means of experimentation, we show that regular Wi-Fi clients can still demodulate the underlying Wi-Fi frames. Our results show that covert channels on the physical layer are practical and run on off-the-shelf smartphones. By making available our raw signal transmitter, the CSI extractor, and the covert channel application to the research community, we ensure reproducibility and offer a platform for further innovative applications on Wi-Fi devices.
Teaching Your Wireless Card New Tricks: Smartphone Performance and Security Enhancements Through Wi-Fi Firmware Modifications
Smartphones come with a variety of sensors and communication interfaces, which make them perfect candidates for mobile communication testbeds. Nevertheless, proprietary firmwares hinder us from accessing the full capabilities of the underlying hardware platform which impedes innovation. Focusing on FullMAC Wi-Fi chips, we present Nexmon, a C-based firmware modification framework. It gives access to raw Wi-Fi frames and advanced capabilities that we found by reverse engineering chips and their firmware. As firmware modifications pose security risks, we discuss how to secure firmware handling without impeding experimentation on Wi-Fi chips. To present and evaluate our findings in the field, we developed the following applications. We start by presenting a ping-offloading application that handles ping requests in the firmware instead of the operating system. It significantly reduces energy consumption and processing delays. Then, we present a software-defined wireless networking application that enhances scalable video streaming by setting flow-based requirements on physical-layer parameters. As security application, we present a reactive Wi-Fi jammer that analyses incoming frames during reception and transmits arbitrary jamming waveforms by operating Wi-Fi chips as software-defined radios (SDRs). We further introduce an acknowledging jammer to ensure the flow of non-targeted frames and an adaptive power-control jammer to adjust transmission powers based on measured jamming successes. Additionally, we discovered how to extract channel state information (CSI) on a per-frame basis. Using both SDR and CSI-extraction capabilities, we present a physical-layer covert channel. It hides covert symbols in phase changes of selected OFDM subcarriers. Those manipulations can be extracted from CSI measurements at a receiver. To ease the analysis of firmware binaries, we created a debugging application that supports single stepping and runs as firmware patch on the Wi-Fi chip. We published the source code of our framework and our applications to ensure reproducibility of our results and to enable other researchers to extend our work. Our framework and the applications emphasize the need for freely modifiable firmware and detailed hardware documentation to create novel and exciting applications on commercial off-the-shelf devices.
Compressive Millimeter-Wave Sector Selection in Off-the-Shelf IEEE 802.11ad Devices
Achieving data-rates of multiple Gbps in 60 GHz mm-wave communication systems requires efficient beam-steering algorithms. To find the optimal steering direction on IEEE 802.11ad compatible devices, state-of-the-art approaches sweep through all predefined antenna sectors. Recently, much more efficient alternatives, such as compressive path tracking, have been proposed, which scale well even with arrays with thousands of antenna elements. However, such have not yet been integrated into consumer devices. In this work, we adapt compressive path tracking for sector selection in off-the-shelf IEEE 802.11ad devices. In contrast to existing solutions, our compressive sector selection tolerates the imperfections of low-cost hardware, tracks beam directions in 3D and does not rely on pseudo-random beams. We implement our protocol on a commodity router, the TP-Link Talon AD7200, by modifying the sector sweep algorithm in the IEEE 802.11ad chip’s firmware. In particular, we modify the firmware to obtain the signal strength of received frames and to select custom sectors. Using this extension, we precisely measure the device’s sector patterns. We then select the best sector based on the measured patterns and sweep only through a subset of probing sectors. Our results demonstrate, that our protocol outperforms the existing sector sweep, increases stability, and speeds up the sector selection by factor 2.3.
Nexmon: Build Your Own Wi-Fi Testbeds With Low-Level MAC and PHY-Access Using Firmware Patches on Off-the-Shelf Mobile Devices
The most widespread Wi-Fi enabled devices are smartphones.
They are mobile, close to people and available in large quantities, which makes them perfect candidates for real-world wireless testbeds. Unfortunately, most smartphones contain closed-source FullMAC Wi-Fi chips that hinder the modification of lower-layer Wi-Fi mechanisms and the implementation of new
algorithms. To enable researchers’ access to lower-layer frame processing and advanced physical-layer functionalities on Broadcom Wi-Fi chips, we developed the Nexmon firmware patching framework. It allows users to create firmware
modifications for embedded ARM processors using C code and to change the behavior of Broadcom’s real-time processor using Assembly. Currently, our framework supports five Broadcom chips available in smartphones and Raspberry Pis. Our example patches enable monitor mode, frame injection, handling of
ioctls, ucode compression and flashpatches. In a simple ping offloading example, we demonstrate how handling pings in firmware reduces power consumption by up to 165 mW and is nine times faster than in the kernel on a Nexus 5. Using Nexmon, researchers can unleash the full capabilities of off-the-shelf Wi-Fi devices.
Massive reactive smartphone-based jamming using arbitrary waveforms and adaptive power control
It is not commonly known that off-the-shelf smartphones can be converted into versatile jammers. To understand how those jammers work and how well they perform, we implemented a jamming firmware for the Nexus 5 smartphone. The firmware runs on the real-time processor of the Wi-Fi chip and allows to reactively jam Wi-Fi networks in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands using arbitrary waveforms stored in IQ sample buffers. This allows us to generate a pilot-tone jammer on off-the-shelf hardware. Besides a simple reactive jammer, we implemented a new acknowledging jammer that selectively jams only targeted data streams of a node while keeping other data streams of the same node flowing. To lower the increased power consumption of this jammer, we implemented an adaptive power control algorithm. We evaluated our implementations in friendly jamming scenarios to oppress non-compliant Wi-Fi transmissions and to protect otherwise vulnerable devices in industrial setups. Our results show that we can selectively hinder Wi-Fi transmissions in the vicinity of our jamming smartphone leading to an increased throughput for other nodes or no blockage of non-targeted streams on a jammed node. Consuming less than 300 mW when operating the reactive jammer allows mobile operation for more than 29 hours. Our implementation demonstrates that jamming communications was never that simple and available for every smartphone owner, while still allowing surgical jamming precision and energy efficiency. Nevertheless, it involves the danger of abuse by malicious attackers that may take over hundreds of devices to massively jam Wi-Fi networks in wide areas.
Reactive Wi-Fi jammers on off-the-shelf hardware that may facilitate mobile friendly jamming applications have only been shown recently. Until now, no demonstrators existed to reproduce the results obtained with these systems, hence, inhibiting re-use for further research or educational applications. In this work, we present an Android app that allows to create advanced jamming scenarios with four Nexus 5 smartphones. We use two of them to inject Wi-Fi frames with UDP payload, one to receive frames and analyze if they were corrupted and one that acts as a reactive jammer that selectively jams according to a UDP port. The user can choose between a simple reactive jammer and an acknowledging jammer. All jammers are implemented as Wi-Fi firmware patches by using the Nexmon framework. During the demonstration, users may adjust parameters of transmitted frames and observe the throughputs of correct and corrupted frames as bar graphs at the receiver. At the jamming node, users may design an arbitrary jamming signal in the frequency domain and adjust the jamming power, the target UDP port and the jammer type. The MAC addresses used during the experiments are hard coded to hinder users from simply abusing the app in other setups. Overall, the demonstration proofs that highly sophisticated Wi-Fi jammers can run on smartphones.
Profiling the Strength of Physical-Layer Security: A Study in Orthogonal Blinding
Physical layer security for wireless communication is broadly considered as a promising approach to protect data confidentiality against eavesdroppers. However, despite its ample theoretical foundation, the transition to practical implementations of physical-layer security still lacks success. A close inspection of proven vulnerable physical-layer security designs reveals that the flaws are usually overlooked when the scheme is only evaluated against an inferior, single-antenna eavesdropper. Meanwhile, the attacks exposing vulnerabilities often lack theoretical justification. To reduce the gap between theory and practice, we posit that a physical-layer security scheme must be studied under multiple adversarial models to fully grasp its security strength. In this regard, we evaluate a specific physical-layer security scheme, i.e. orthogonal blinding, under multiple eavesdropper settings. We further propose a practical "ciphertext-only attack" that allows eavesdroppers to recover the original message by exploiting the low entropy fields in wireless packets. By means of simulation, we are able to reduce the symbol error rate at an eavesdropper below 1% using only the eavesdropper’s receiving data and a general knowledge about the format of the wireless packets.
Trust The Wire, They Always Told Me!: On Practical Non-Destructive Wire-Tap Attacks Against Ethernet
Ethernet technology dominates enterprise and home network installations and is present in datacenters as well as parts of the backbone of the Internet. Due to its wireline nature, Ethernet networks are often assumed to intrinsically protect the exchanged data against attacks carried out by eavesdroppers and malicious attackers that do not have physical access to network devices, patch panels and network outlets. In this work, we practically evaluate the possibility of wireless attacks against wired Ethernet installations with respect to resistance against eavesdropping by using off-the-shelf software-defined radio platforms. Our results clearly indicate that twisted-pair network cables radiate enough electromagnetic waves to reconstruct transmitted frames with negligible bit error rates, even when the cables are not damaged at all. Since this allows an attacker to stay undetected, it urges the need for link layer encryption or physical layer security to protect confidentiality.
DEMO: Demonstrating Practical Known-Plaintext Attacks against Physical Layer Security in Wireless MIMO Systems
After being widely studied in theory, physical layer security schemes are getting closer to enter the consumer market. Still, a thorough practical analysis of their resilience against attacks is missing. In this work, we use software-defined radios to implement such a physical layer security scheme, namely, orthogonal blinding. To this end, we use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) as a physical layer, similarly to WiFi. In orthogonal blinding, a multi-antenna transmitter overlays the data it transmits with noise in such a way that every node except the intended receiver is disturbed by the noise. Still, our known-plaintext attack can extract the data signal at an eavesdropper by means of an adaptive filter trained using a few known data symbols. Our demonstrator illustrates the iterative training process at the symbol level, thus showing the practicability of the attack.
DEMO: Using NexMon, the C-based WiFi firmware modification framework
FullMAC WiFi chips have the potential to realize modifications to WiFi implementations that exceed the limits of current standards or to realize the implementation of new standards, such as 802.11p, on off-the-shelve hardware. As a developer, one, however, needs access to the firmware source code to implement these modifications. In general, WiFi firmwares are closed source and do not allow any modifications. With our C-based programming framework, NexMon, we allow the extension of existing firmware of Broadcom’s FullMAC WiFi chips. In this work, we demonstrate how to get started by running existing example projects and by creating a new project to transmit arbitrary frames with a Nexus 5 smartphone.
Using Channel State Information for Tamper Detection in the Internet of Things
Each 802.11n WiFi frame contains a preamble which allows a receiver to estimate the impact of the wireless channel and of the transmitter on the received signal. The estimation result - the CSI - is used by a receiver to extract the transmitted information. However, as the CSI depends on the communication environment and the transmitter hardware it can as well be used for security purposes. If an attacker tampers with a transmitter it will have an effect on the CSI measured at a receiver. Many IoT devices use WiFi for communication and CSI based tamper detection is a valuable building block for securing the future IoT. Unfortunately not only tamper events lead to CSI fluctuations; movement of people in the communication environment has an impact too. We propose to analyse CSI values of a transmission simultaneously at multiple receivers to improve distinction of tamper and movement events. A moving person has an impact on some but not all communication links between transmitter and the receivers. A temper event impacts on all links between transmitter and the receivers. The paper describes the necessary algorithms for the proposed tamper detection method. In particular we analyse the tamper detection capability in practical deployments with varying intensity of people movement. For example, in our experiments with low movement intensity it was possible to detect all tamper situations (TPR of one) while achieving a zero FPR.
Physical layer security schemes for wireless communications are currently crossing the chasm from theory to practice. They promise information-theoretical security, for instance by guaranteeing the confidentiality of wireless transmissions. Examples include schemes utilizing artificial interference—that is ’jamming for good’—to enable secure physical layer key exchange or other security mechanisms. However, only little attention has been payed to adjusting the employed adversary models during this transition from theory to practice. Typical assumptions give the adversary antenna configurations and transceiver capabilities similar to all other nodes: single antenna eavesdroppers are the norm. We argue that these assumptions are perilous and ’invite the thief’. In this work, we evaluate the security of a representative practical physical layer security scheme, which employs artificial interference to secure physical layer key exchange. Departing from the standard single-antenna eavesdropper, we utilize a more realistic multi-antenna eavesdropper and propose a novel approach that detects artificial interferences. This facilitates a practical attack, effectively ’lockpicking’ the key exchange by exploiting the diversity of the jammed signals. Using simulation and real-world software-defined radio (SDR) experimentation, we quantify the impact of increasingly strong adversaries. We show that our approach reduces the secrecy capacity of the scheme by up to 97% compared to single-antenna eavesdroppers. Our results demonstrate the risk unrealistic adversary models pose in current practical physical layer security schemes.
NFCGate: An NFC Relay Application for Android
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a technology widely used for security-critical applications like access control or payment systems. Many of these systems rely on the security assumption that the card has to be in close proximity to communicate with the reader. We developed NFCGate, an Android application capable of relaying NFC communication between card and reader using two rooted but otherwise unmodified Android phones. This enables us to increase the distance between card and reader, eavesdrop on, and even modify the exchanged data. The application should work for any system built on top of ISO 14443-3 that is not hardened against relay attacks, and was successfully tested with a popular contactless card payment system and an electronic passport document.
APP and PHY in Harmony: Demonstrating Scalable Video Streaming Supported by Flexible Physical Layer Control
APP and PHY in Harmony: A Framework Enabling Flexible Physical Layer Processing to Address Application Requirements
Mobile data traffic, particularly mobile video, grows at an unprecedented pace. Despite recent advances at the physical layer, today’s wireless network infrastructure cannot keep up with this growth. This is partially due to the missing flexibility to adapt the physical layer continuously to best support both application level as well as network requirements. In this paper we show how to harness the flexibility of advanced physical layers in practice. We designed and implemented a research platform that provides a flexible application-centric physical layer for Android smartphones using software-defined radios (SDRs) as radio interfaces. Our solution allows applications to define flows and apply per-flow settings that are mapped into distinct physical layer settings. As a proof-of-concept and for testbed evaluation, we implemented our system together with a mobile video streaming application. The latter uses a Motion-JPEG based lightweight scalable video codec (SVC) to generate incremental data flows. We show that our system maximizes video quality at the receiver’s side, while keeping the energy consumption at the transmitter at a minimum. Our solution demonstrates that jointly optimizing network traffic and application quality is feasible in practice using a flexible physical layer processing approach.
Highly Efficient Known-Plaintext Attacks against Orthogonal Blinding based Physical Layer Security
In this letter, we describe highly effective known-plaintext attacks against physical layer security schemes. We substantially reduce the amount of required known-plaintext symbols and lower the symbol error rate (SER) for the attacker. In particular, we analyze the security of orthogonal blinding schemes that disturb an eavesdropper’s signal reception using artificial noise transmission. We improve the attack efficacy using fast converging optimization algorithms and combining the measurements of neighboring subchannels in a multicarrier system. We implement the enhanced attack algorithms by solving unregularized and regularized least squares problems. By means of simulation, we show that the performance of the new attack algorithms supersedes the normalized least mean square approach discussed in the work of Schulz et al., e.g., by lowering the eavesdropper’s SER by 82% while using 95% less known plaintext.
WARP Drive - Accelerating Wireless Multi-hop Cross-layer Experimentation on SDRs
Practical Known-Plaintext Attacks against Physical Layer Security in Wireless MIMO Systems
Physical layer security schemes for wireless communication systems have been broadly studied from an information theory point of view. In contrast, there is a dearth of attack methodologies to analyze the achievable security on the physical layer. To address this issue, we develop a novel attack model for physical layer security schemes, which is the equivalent to known-plaintext attacks in cryptoanalysis. In particular, we concentrate on analyzing the security of orthogonal blinding schemes that disturb an eavesdropper’s signal reception using artificial noise transmission. We discuss the theory underlying our attack methodology and develop an adaptive filter trained by known-plaintext symbols to degrade the secrecy of orthogonal blinding. By means of simulation and measurements on real wireless channels using software-defined radios with OFDM transceivers, we obtain the operating area of our attack and evaluate the achievable secrecy degradation. We are able to reduce the secrecy of orthogonal blinding schemes to Symbol Error Rates (SERs) below 10% at an eavesdropper, with a knowledge of only a 3% of the symbols transmitted in typical WLAN frames.
Short Paper: Gathering Tamper Evidence in Wi-Fi Networks Based on Channel State Information