Researchers Uncover New Coexistence Attacks On Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Chips

Cybersecurity researchers have demonstrated a new attack technique that makes it possible to leverage a device’s Bluetooth component to directly extract network passwords and manipulate traffic on a Wi-Fi chip.

The novel attacks work against the so-called “combo chips”, which are specialized chips that are equipped to handle different types of radio wave-based wireless communications, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE.

We provide empirical evidence that coexistence, i.e., the coordination of cross-technology wireless transmissions, is an unexplored attack surface, a group of researchers from the Technical University of Darmstadt’s Secure Mobile Networking Lab and the University of Brescia said in a new paper.

Instead of escalating directly into the mobile [operating system], wireless chips can escalate their privileges into other wireless chips by exploiting the same mechanisms they use to arbitrate their access to the resources they share, i.e., the transmitting antenna and the wireless medium.

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