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Since its inception in 2013, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has become the standard for short-distance wireless communication in many consumer devices, as well as special-purpose devices. In this study, we analyze the security features available in Bluetooth LE standards and evaluate the features implemented in two BLE wearable devices (a Fitbit heart rate wristband and a Polar heart rate chest wearable) and a BLE keyboard to explore which security features in the BLE standards are implemented in the devices. In this study, we used the ComProbe Bluetooth Protocol Analyzer, along with the ComProbe software to capture the BLE traffic of these three devices. We found that even though the standards provide security mechanisms, because the Bluetooth Special Interest Group does not require that manufacturers fully comply with the standards, some manufacturers fail to implement proper security mechanisms. The circumvention of security in Bluetooth devices could leak private data that could be exploited by rogue actors/hackers, thus creating security, privacy, and, possibly, safety issues for consumers and the public. We propose the design of a Bluetooth Security Facts Label (BSFL) to be included on a Bluetooth/BLE enabled device’s commercial packaging and conclude that there should be better mechanisms for informing users about the security and privacy provisions of the devices they acquire and use and to educate the public on protection of their privacy when buying a connected device.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.