iPhone users receive spammy bluetooth alerts from hackers using Flipper Zero devices, know what it is | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2023 09:19 IST

In recent news, there’s a concerning issue where hackers can pester iPhone users with annoying pop-up messages. These pop-ups trick you into thinking you need to connect to nearby Apple gadgets like AirTags, Apple TV, and AirPods. This mischief is made possible through a device called Flipper Zero, which is relatively affordable and is often used for hacking.

A security expert, who goes by the name Anthony, demonstrated how this attack works. He used the Flipper Zero, a tiny device that can be programmed to mess with wireless devices, including iPhones. What happens is what experts call a “denial-of-service” attack. It basically means that someone can flood your iPhone with pop-up messages, making it almost impossible to use.

Anthony referred to this attack as a “Bluetooth advertising assault.” It’s not just a minor annoyance; it can seriously disrupt the smooth experience that Apple users are used to.

Here’s how it works: Anthony modified the Flipper Zero to send out something called “Bluetooth Advertisements.” These are signals that devices use to announce their presence and abilities. It’s how your Apple devices connect to each other and share things like photos through AirDrop.

Using this method, TechCrunch was able to replicate the attack on different iPhone models. They loaded a custom code into the Flipper Zero device, and when they turned on Bluetooth, it started sending pop-up signals to nearby iPhones.

They even imitated an AirTag and tried transferring a phone number. Both tricks worked, although they couldn’t quite reproduce the constant barrage of notifications. The range of the attack was limited to close proximity, like when tapping an iPhone with the Flipper Zero. But using another code, they managed to affect multiple iPhones from across the room.

This hack worked whether Bluetooth was on or off in the iPhone’s Control Center, but it didn’t work when Bluetooth was fully turned off in the Settings.

Lately, security experts have been warning about how malicious hackers could misuse Bluetooth to annoy iPhone users. At a hacking conference, a researcher managed to make alerts pop up on people’s iPhones using a homemade contraption. Anthony also mentioned a more powerful version of this attack that could work over long distances, but he’s keeping the details under wraps to prevent widespread misuse.

To prevent these attacks, Apple could verify that Bluetooth devices connecting to iPhones are legitimate and limit how far iPhones can connect to other devices via Bluetooth. However, Apple has not responded to requests for comment on this issue.

Edited By:

Ankita Chakravarti

Published On:

Sep 6, 2023


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