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Essay On Eavesdropping in Bluetooth Networks


Bluetooth enables mobile devices to communicate with one another across short distances to transmit data and multimedia. It has become a standard method of short-range wireless communication in recent years. Even though Bluetooth has an acceptable level of reliability, the protocol nevertheless has certain shortcomings. Bluetooth is susceptible to some security risks. Because these dangers are seldom publicized, the general public is not well informed about them. Surveys on Bluetooth security have so far identified just a few risks, which have been poorly illustrated and categorizes as a result. Although Bluetooth device makers are doing their bit to keep the technology safe, users are cautioned of the looming security risks and to take the bare minimum of precautions to protect themselves.


Because of their widespread use, mobile phones have emerged as a commerce platform of unparalleled significance. Personal computers have enabled e-commerce to thrive within a tiny socio-economic section of society; however, mobile phones hold the potential of expanding electronic commerce to practically the whole population. At the same time, and because of their portability, cell phones can broaden the scope of business to include what is often referred to as mobile commerce, or m-commerce, in the future. An essential step in developing and widespread adoption of mobile marketing is using short-range wireless LANs, such as Bluetooth, connecting mobile devices to the Internet.

With the invention of Bluetooth in 1998, the world has been provided with a low-power, short-range wireless connection that can connect hundreds of devices operating in the personal area networks. A short-range wireless technology that is an international standard for short-range radio, Bluetooth allows electronic devices to communicate with one another. Bluetooth is used to link two or more electronic devices. It was developed to replace wire connections between a computer and peripherals or between a mobile phone and a hands-free headset. Organizations that manufacture electronic devices have discovered that a large number of varying connections and cables used in their products become tedious while setting them up even for experienced technicians for the first time. To make all of these computers, systems, and digital devices more user-friendly, a better method for these gadgets to interact with one another was an absolute need. Furthermore, it is a technological standard that specifies how electronic devices may be linked with the aid of low-power, short-range wireless connections to communicate with one another (Andersen, 2019).

Bluetooth technology encompasses both the software and hardware components of communication. The air and antenna border are the means through which the radio transmits and receives data. The baseband is comprised of a digital signal processor, which is integrated into the chip’s design. The baseband performs basic piconet and device control functions, and medium access functions such as packet types, packet processing, and link types are performed by the baseband. The protocol stack is included inside the program. Broadcom provides WIDCOMM Bluetooth software with built-in systems, Windows, and Windows-CE systems, among other platforms. All WIDCOMM software provides simple integration, robust diagnostics, and the quickest time to market possible, among other features (Sun & Sun, 2019).

The connection between Bluetooth electronic devices is usually an equal connection among the peers in the peer-to-peer fashion. Nonetheless, when a network device joins to form a piconet, one becomes more superior than the others which become known as slaves while they are still connected. All appliances are programmed to operate in time with the hopping sequence and the master’s clock. For example, a Piconet may begin with an initial connection of two devices, such as a laptop and a phone, and can be expanded to include up to eight electronic devices. The Bluetooth devices may be configured to automatically connect to another Bluetooth gadget when they are within range of each other. Bluetooth also allows you to set up automated information synchronization between devices, such as music players, video players, and other such items (Antonioli et al., 2020).

Literature Review

Even though wireless networking started to become widely available in the 1990s, the technology has been present since the 1800s. Dr. Sir William Herschel was both a musician and an astronomer when he discovered that infrared light existed and could be seen by the naked eye. James Maxwell first proposed the electromagnetic wave hypothesis, which was developed due to the discovery of infrared light and was studied in detail by him. Since 2005, the globe has grown more mobile than it has been in previous years. Consequently, conventional methods of connecting people worldwide have proved insufficient to address the difficulties presented by our new collective way of living and thinking. When users are required to connect to a network through physical connections, the amount of mobility is significantly limited (Zou et al., 2016).

On the other hand, wireless connection does not impose such restrictions and provides for much more freedom of movement on the side of the network user. A direct consequence of this development is that wireless technologies are increasingly intruding on the conventional domain of “fixed” or “wired” networks. Anyone who drives daily will immediately notice the difference. When going regularly, one of the most dangerous problems we face is the daily snarl-up of erratically driven vehicles with cell phone users in the driver’s seat, which may be life-threatening (Biham & Neumann, 2019).

In the field of voice telecommunications, the wireless connection has given birth to a whole new business. Because callers may be linked to people rather than machines when using mobile connections for voice calls, the introduction of mobile connectivity into telephony has had significant implications for providing voice calls. In the field of computer networking, we are on the verge of experiencing a similar seismic shift. Wireless telephony has been effective because it allows individuals to communicate with one another regardless of their physical location. New technologies aimed at computer networks have the potential to achieve the same results for Internet connection. The IEEE 802.11 standard has proven to be the most effective wireless data networking technology to date (Zou et al., 2016).

Regardless of how the protocols are built or even what kind of data they transport, wireless networks have many significant benefits over wired networks. The ability to move about is the most apparent benefit of wireless networking. Users of wireless networks can join existing networks and are then given the ability to move freely. A mobile telephone user may travel hundreds of miles in a single conversation since the phone links the user to a network of cell towers, which allows the user to drive. At first, the mobile telephone was prohibitively costly. Because of the high costs, it was only used by highly flexible individuals within large corporations and institutions such as key decision makers and sales managers who needed to be contacted at any time. Nevertheless, smartphones have become adopted across the world becoming more common in the developed nations such as the European nations and the United States that began using them earlier than the rest of the world (Biham & Neumann, 2019).

In the same way, software engineers have been liberated from the struggles of having ethernet connections everywhere thereby restricting them to their offices only. Therefore, software developers and engineers among other IT personnel are given the privilege of working from anywhere due to the availability of the wireless internet connections. They can work from home, a cafeteria, a parking lot, or even the conference room without using ethernet cables. Because wireless users are only limited by their ability to stay within range of the base station, they may use the network’s resources. Equipment that is readily accessible can easily cover a corporate campus; but, with a bit of effort, sophisticated and modern equipment, with a sustainable terrain, one can increase their connection distances to cover more places and maintaining the connection speeds (Sun et al., 2018).

By their very nature, wireless networks are very adaptable, which allows for their implementation to be relatively quick. Wireless networks link customers to an existing network by using several base stations to connect them to the network. With wireless network connections, the structure is the same across all connected devices regardless of the number of users. Base stations and antennas must be installed to provide service in a particular region. Adding a user to a wireless network, on the other hand, becomes mainly a question of authorization after the infrastructure has been established. After the infrastructure has been established, it is modified to connect and provide equal connection speeds to all and new users; however, additional connections require authorization that may be bypassed using cables (Zou et al., 2016). It is unnecessary to run cables, punch down terminals, or patch in a new jack when connecting new users to the wireless network. The major task is setting up infrastructure that accommodates the new users.

For service providers, adaptability is a critical quality to have on their team. Hotspot connections have become more popular globally thereby warranting further research and development to understand ways of improving the connection that do not limit the users. Itinerant business travelers who need network connectivity during connection delays are likely to be found at airports and railway stations, among other places. Coffeehouses and other public meeting places are examples of social settings where having a network connection is advantageous. Wireless connections have already been setup across various cafeterias and resting points which is only an expansion of the previous connections that were setup in these points (Zou et al., 2016). Although it is feasible to serve many users using Ethernet ports, providing access via a wired network is difficult for a variety of reasons. Running cables is a time-consuming and costly endeavor that may need the development of new infrastructure. It is more of an art than a science to predict the number of cable drops required accurately.

Since it lowers the need for new construction, flexibility may be especially significant in older structures. Once a system has been designated as historically significant, renovating it may be very challenging. In addition to satisfying the property owner’s needs, historical preservation authorities must ensure that new development is not trashing the historic environment. This is because there is just a minimal amount of wired network infrastructure to install, allowing wireless networks to be set up in record time (Zou et al., 2016).

Bluetooth technology, which was developed in 1994, was envisioned as a wireless replacement to data cables, allowing data to be exchanged through radio waves instead of wires. Bluetooth was given to a Danish king from the 10th century, Harald Blatand, also known as Harold Bluetooth in English. Bluetooth technology was developed as an open standard to enable connection and association between goods and sectors that were previously unconnected. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is in charge of overseeing and developing the Bluetooth core standard and services. Those working groups ensure that the specification and services operate per the highest exchangeability requirements, allowing consumers to recognize that their Bluetooth devices are simply functional confidently. In the current twenty-first century, Bluetooth technology is integrated with all electronic gadgets. Bluetooth is a wireless technology linked within the short range with low power and cheap cost. Bluetooth operates inside the typical 2.4GHz frequency band. Radio waves, rather than wires, are used to link Bluetooth devices to one another. The machines are connected through a wireless network connection, making it easier to transmit information between them (Antonioli et al., 2020).

Bluetooth is a low-cost technology since it is integrated with a tiny chip into the devices that use it. To ensure that the wireless connection is safe, it is necessary to ensure that the signals are not disrupted. Several different security techniques may be used to protect the link. Bluetooth can establish a trusted connection that allows data to be sent without asking for permission. When the other device attempts to create a tie, the user must select whether or not to accept it. When transferring data from one device to another, there are many factors to consider. As a result, the problem of security emerges. One of the most significant problems that this generation of wireless technology faces is the issue of security (Andersen, 2019).

Advantages of Bluetooth Devices

Bluetooth technology offers homes the most convenient method to operate lighting, domestic appliances, windows, door locks and monitoring temperatures, security systems, and a wide range of other electronic devices. Bluetooth technology makes it possible to manage almost anything in the home, from the temperature of the baby’s room to the security of the whole house. Alerts delivered to smartphones or homes may make it easier to complete daily chores. In addition, Bluetooth technology provides homes with the option to utilize energy more effectively than ever before. As a result of the secure wireless connection provided by this technology, customers may achieve accurate control of energy meters, home heating, and other equipment – allowing them to save money when appliances are not in use (Lalib et all., 2019).

At the moment, the house is at the epicenter of the digital universe, and Bluetooth technology has made it much more pleasant than it was before possible. Wireless technologies and gadgets make it simpler to play music, video games, watch television, and keep everyone in the family engaged while also saving money on electricity costs. The current home entertainment environment is densely packed with wireless technology, many of it with complex management choices that 99 percent of the population is entirely unfamiliar with. It isn’t easy to reap the full benefits of a synchronized set-top box because of the complex connections between the many components. Bluetooth technology, beginning with complete control over the house, enables consumers to achieve absolute pleasure (Sun & Sun, 2019).

Bluetooth technology also assists drivers in maintaining a safe driving environment. Talking on the phone while driving is the most common secondary activity performed by people, accounting for almost 11 percent of all car-driving time. They must, however, accept responsibility for any repercussions that may arise as a result of using their phones while driving. Drivers should maintain their concentration on the road. Bluetooth technology enables drivers to keep their eyes on the road while conversing on the phone. This is a fantastic chance to answer and make phone calls without ever having to touch the device. Some models are equipped with so-called speech recognition technology. There is no need to feel the phone. As a result, they are making the technology completely hands-free. Furthermore, most cars nowadays come equipped with Bluetooth hands-free technology, either as a standard or optional feature (Sun & Sun, 2019).

Technical Background of Eavesdropping on Bluetooth Networks and its impacts

Enterprises now must safeguard sensitive data and minimize continuous security risks in the face of the billions of Bluetooth-enabled gadgets sold every year. Although Bluetooth Low Energy, like many other wireless technologies, has tremendous promise for the Internet of Things, it is not immune to security risks such as device tracking, man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdropping, BLE devices are programmed to regularly broadcast their MAC address, UUID, and service information at a predetermined frequency. Hackers may monitor the gadget and decipher the data coming from it due to constant advertising. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, Passive eavesdropping and identity monitoring are the most severe security concerns associated with the pairing process and Bluetooth in general. Using passive eavesdropping, a third device may “listen in” on the data being transferred between two connected devices without the user knowing it. By encrypting the information being transmitted using AES-CCM encryption, Bluetooth Low Energy can combat this attack effectively. To ensure security, Bluetooth Low Energy was built using AES-128 encryption, which is one of the most robust encryption methods available (Sun et al., 2018).

In Bluetooth networks, eavesdroppers are often not discovered due to the nature of wireless radio frequency transmission. Unencrypted communications make it very simple for an eavesdropper to view the contents of any packets that are sent over the network. The eavesdropper, on the other hand, must be within range of the Bluetooth network. Bluetooth packets are made up of three parts: the payload, packet header and the access code. A listener may always view generic piconet information related to the devices since the access code and packet header are always transmitted unencrypted, even when encryption is applied to the data and payload. The eavesdropper might use this information to determine the degree of permission each of the genuine piconet devices had (Andersen, 2019).

Protecting Against Eavesdropping

Because Bluetooth technology is incorporated into everything from smartphones to vehicle audio systems, it is not straightforward for unauthorized hackers to access your device via various means. Whether or not someone can listen in on your conversation, you may unintentionally disclose important information that might jeopardize your digital and personal security. Take measures to secure your Bluetooth connection and restrict access to your devices if you want to avoid being eavesdropped on. Methods such as privatizing connections, updating software, pairing devices in secret, and safeguarding one’s pin are examples of such techniques (Lalib et al., 2019).

Eavesdropping may occur even when you are not linked to a Bluetooth device; in certain instances, an individual may be able to intercept all audio within a victim’s vicinity by accessing their tablet or phone microphone. Turning off Bluetooth and setting your devices undiscoverable are the quickest and most effective ways to enhance security and avoid eavesdropping. Although it will take a few more seconds each time you wish to connect a device, you will be preventing access to your Bluetooth device whenever it is not being used. Many Bluetooth devices have default Passcodes and a default device name, making it simple for anybody to obtain access to the network. Changing your Passcode from the default choice, often “0000,” is recommended by the Better Business Bureau. Instead, create an eight-character passcode to protect your account. For the majority of devices, you must update the PIN by changing it on the device itself. The placement of the option varies from model to model and their manufacturers; on Epson printers, for instance, it is found in the “Bluetooth Settings” section of the “Setup” menu under the “Bluetooth” heading. Additionally, Bluetooth tech gadget manufacturers have discovered the need for improved protection and are working to develop better ways of ensuring their customer’s information safety (Lalib et al., 2019).

Recommendation of Suitable Solution to Mitigate the Threats Caused by Eavesdropping on Bluetooth Devices

Weak connections between servers and clients, such as unencrypted networks, or those utilizing outdated servers and software and those that are malware-infected are the most targeted by hackers. Data packets being sent across networks are captured by hackers who take advantage of the poor connection between servers and the clients. Encryption is the most common way of preventing information from being intercepted by hackers. However, having a strong connection between the server and the client is essential since it prevents this information from being captured in the first place. Unfortunately, since there are no interruptions or changes to the network, identifying and stopping a passive eavesdropping attack is next to impossible than active eavesdropping attacks since by the time the network changes are discovered, the data has already been intercepted by hackers (Antonioli et al., 2020). A penny saved is a pound saved when it comes to security. This holds for the majority of things.

Conclusion & Further Studies

The invention of wireless connection paved way for several developments across the telecommunication industry. The most common developments have been witnessed in the development of new improved communication techniques between individuals and even the devices themselves. One of these connection types is the Bluetooth connection type that has shifted the way files and data is shared over the network and between electronic devices. Bluetooth has also led to the simplifying normal human activities such as making and receiving phone calls while driving that would have been otherwise disastrous. The entertainment industry has also profited from manufacturing tech devices used to listen and communicate with others, listening to music and even playing video games through the multiplayer options. Security has also been beefed up at residences and in large corporations with the installation of security gadgets within these compounds.

With the invention of the wireless devices also came with it a threat to how information is passed across the internet. This threat is caused by the presence of hackers who use weak connections between the servers and the clients. These hackers can also intercept important information passed through the wireless connections without being discovered easily. This threat is also present in the Bluetooth connections since data being sent may be intercepted using the discoverable gadgets around. Eavesdropping is also possible since hackers may use advanced gadgets used to intercept information or audio relying on Bluetooth connections within range. However, this can be prevented through encryption of the data being sent across devices since it is the most secure way that guarantees security of the information. These pending threats pose a challenge to software engineers and other security personnel within the Information and Technology sector to come up with measures that can assure users maximum protection of their devices.


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Antonioli, D., Tippenhauer, N. O., & Rasmussen, K. (2020, May). BIAS: Bluetooth impersonation attacks. In 2020 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (SP) (pp. 549-562). IEEE.

Biham, E., & Neumann, L. (2019, August). Breaking the Bluetooth pairing–the fixed coordinate invalid curve attack. In International Conference on Selected Areas in Cryptography (pp. 250-273). Springer, Cham.

Labib, M., Ghalwash, A., Abdulkader, S., & Elgazzar, M. (2019). Networking solutions for connecting Bluetooth low energy devices-a comparison. In MATEC Web of Conferences (Vol. 292, p. 02003). EDP Sciences.

Sun, D. Z., & Sun, L. (2019). On Secure Simple Pairing in Bluetooth Standard v5. 0-Part I: Authenticated Link Key Security and Its Home Automation and Entertainment Applications. Sensors19(5), 1158.

Sun, D. Z., Mu, Y., & Susilo, W. (2018). Man-in-the-middle attacks on Secure Simple Pairing in Bluetooth standard V5. 0 and its countermeasure. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing22(1), 55-67.

Zou, Y., Zhu, J., Wang, X., & Hanzo, L. (2016). A survey on wireless security: Technical challenges, recent advances, and future trends. Proceedings of the IEEE104(9), 1727-1765.

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