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Linux Bluetooth hackers hijack car audio

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Linux hackers have demonstrated a way to inject or record audio signals from passing cars running insecure Bluetooth hands-free units. The Trifinite group showed how hackers could eavesdrop on passing motorists using a directional antenna and a Linux Laptop running a tool it has developed called Car Whisperer.

The software was demonstrated during a Bluetooth Security talk at last week's What the Hack hacker festival in The Netherlands. Trifinite has developed a specialism in unearthing Bluetooth security shortcomings, the latest of which illustrates implementation problems rather than more deep-seated security concerns with the protocol. Car Whisperer only works because many car manufacturers use standard Bluetooth passkeys such as "0000" or "1234" which are easy to guess. "This is often is the only authentication that is needed to connect," according to Trifinite.

Once connected hackers can interact with other drivers or even eavesdrop conversations from inside other cars by accessing the microphone. And that's just for starters.

"Since the attacker's laptop is fully trusted once it has a valid link key, the laptop could be used in order to access all the services offered on the hands-free unit. Often, phone books are stored in these units. I am quite certain that there will be more issues with the security of these systems due to the use of standard pass keys," Trifinite notes. ®

Related links

Pictures from initial Car Whisperer experiments (here)

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