What do you press when flaws in Bluetooth panic buttons are exposed?

Researcher able to DoS and track personal protection kit

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 29th January 2018 16:59 GMT

Security researchers have uncovered flaws in Bluetooth-based panic buttons that, in a worst-case scenario, make the affected kit "effectively useless."

Duo Labs put a range of Bluetooth-based personal protection devices – aka panic buttons – from ROAR, Wearsafem, and Revolar through their paces. These gadgets typically connect to your smartphone so that close friends and family can keep an eye on where you are. When triggered, the gizmos sent out texts for help via the phone.

Researcher Mark Loveless found vulnerabilities in two of the widgets which, if exploited, can open its users to stalking or worse.

Wearsafe's button was vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks. If flooded with connection requests, a hacker could lock the user out of the device until the battery is removed and reinserted. The device also continually broadcasts its Bluetooth radio, meaning it can be tracked.

Revolar's device was also found to be vulnerable to Bluetooth tracking.

"While it wasn't nearly as easy to remotely track a Revolar owner, it is still possible to track the owner of either the Revolar or Wearsafe device from a distance via Bluetooth with inexpensive antennas that extend the scanning range," said Loveless.

"Both devices allow for Bluetooth scanning to identify the device as a personal protection device. Both devices allow for somewhat insecure Bluetooth pairing."

IoT panic button security report card [Source: Duo Labs]

El Reg asked both Wearsafe and Revolar to comment. ®

Sign up to our NewsletterGet IT in your inbox daily

18 Comments

More from The Register

Ignore that FBI. We're the real FBI, says the FBI that's totally the FBI

Don't open that malware mail from the Feds that's not from the Feds, Feds warn

Google reveals rapid Bluetooth gadget connection tech

'Fast Pair' works on Androids and some audio devices, Google wants it in your car too

Congressional group asks FBI boss Wray to explain Apple lawsuit

How dark can crims really go?

FBI chief asks tech industry to build crypto-busting not-a-backdoor

'You guys can build anything if you put your mind to it' is the gist of the argument

FBI probing Uber over use of 'Hell' spyware to track rival biz Lyft

Beleaguered company says it's 'cooperating' with investigation

FBI says it can't unlock 8,000 encrypted devices, demands backdoors for America's 'public safety'

Where there's a will, there's a Wray

Fender's 'smart' guitar amp has no Bluetooth pairing controls

Updated Bum note: you could Rickroll an artist live on stage

2017: The FBI alerts parents to dangers of Internet of Sh*t toys

Families urged to brush up on opsec, check for privacy leaks, patch security flaws, if possible

Crypto-gurus: Which idiots told the FBI that Feds-only backdoors in encryption are possible?

Brilliant boffins back bullsh*tting bureau bollocking

Bluetooth makes a mesh of itself with new spec

Up to 32,000 nodes without routers in the middle and battery life measured in years