Security researcher "Techryptic" recently unveiled an alarming capability of Flipper Zero, a versatile multi-tool designed for penetration testing. The device can now exploit Apple's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to spam iPhones and iPads with endless Bluetooth connection requests. The vulnerability exposes a potential risk for phishing attacks and disrupts the user experience with perpetual notifications.
Flipper Zero, already infamous for its range of hacking capabilities, uses Apple's Bluetooth Low Energy technology to carry out the exploit. Apple devices like iPhones and iPads use advertising (ADV) packets via BLE to connect with other devices in their ecosystem. Flipper Zero spoofs these ADV packets and broadcasts them according to the BLE protocol, confusing the target device into accepting spurious connection requests.
While the primary use of this exploit seems more of a prank than a dangerous attack, it highlights potential vulnerabilities within Apple's technology. The attack disrupts the user experience by generating a high volume of connection requests, making it difficult for the user to distinguish between legitimate and fake notifications.
Techryptic said that modifying Flipper Zero to carry out this exploit involves a a firmware update, code changes and other steps. However, these modifications are not overly complicated for somebody familiar with the device.
The current iteration of the exploit requires the Flipper Zero device relatively close to the target. However, Techryptic warned that the attack could be significantly boosted by a signal amplifier, extending its range to thousands of feet. Despite this, the researcher has no plans to release this method due to its potential for abuse.
Perhaps most concerning is that the attack remains effective even when the target device is in airplane mode. Apple currently has no safeguards or mitigations to prevent such abuse, raising questions about the company's approach to Bluetooth security.
While the immediate impact of this exploit may seem trivial, it serves as a cautionary tale about weaknesses in widely used technologies. As more devices become interconnected through technologies like Bluetooth, the stakes for vulnerabilities rise. It's yet to be seen how Apple will respond to these revelations.
This latest discovery adds another layer of complexity to ongoing discussions about device security and user privacy. For Flipper Zero users, it's an additional feature that could be seen as a fun prank or a worrying enabler of more nefarious activities. For Apple, it's a glaring vulnerability that needs to be addressed promptly.