Items tagged with Bluetooth

These days just about everybody takes Bluetooth for granted. Manufacturers phase out useful physical ports like headset jacks in high end devices with the expectation that buyers will use Bluetooth headphones. Our cars, watches, locator tags, home theaters, and even game controllers rely on the ubiquitous short-range wireless network protocol. And if Bluetooth's built-in encryption was ever broken, we could be in for a world of hurt. Unfortunately, it appears attackers can do just that with a newly-discovered security vulnerability announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), known as BLURtooth.  The Bluetooth SIG and Carnegie Mellon University's CERT Coordination Center describe... Read more...
When one wants to block out the sounds of the world, active noise cancelling is the feature to look for. Now, Qualcomm is one-upping active noise cancelling with adaptive active noise cancellation. Their first product to support this adaptive ANC will be the Qualcomm QCC514x Bluetooth SoC. According to Qualcomm, the new adaptive ANC (AANC for short?) aims “to deliver an improved user experience for earbuds with integrated ANC.” When Qualcomm polled customers, ANC was a highly requested feature among users. As such, Qualcomm stepped in to help deliver a consistent baseline for ANC so customers could have a solid experience. As far as user experience goes, the goal is to make it “as... Read more...
A team of researchers warn that combo chips that implement multiple wireless technologies in PCs and mobile devices are susceptible to a side-channel exploit called Spectra. Not to be confused with Spectre (or Meltdown), this side-channel vulnerability affects chips that combine Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and sometimes cellular bands as well. "We are the first to explore side-channel attacks on wireless coexistence. We specifically analyze Broadcom and Cypress combo chips, which are in hundreds of millions of devices, such as all iPhones, MacBooks, and the Samsung Galaxy S series. Note that other manufacturers also rely on coexistence and similar attacks might apply," the researchers say.... Read more...
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol that we take for granted these days. It's enabled in most of our smart devices including smartphones (where we can perform hands-free calls in our cars) to our smartwatches (allowing Apple users to automatically unlock their Macs with an Apple Watch), to wirelessly connecting our mice and keyboards. The usage case scenarios are simply endless. But with that ease of use and convenience comes some security pitfalls according to a research team from Singapore. Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design have outlined a collection of 12 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) exploits that it has dubbed SweynTooth.  More specifically, SweynTooth affects... Read more...
Android users need to apply the latest round of security updates to their devices as one of them is meant to address a critical vulnerability in the Bluetooth subsystem. The flaw is known as CVE-2020-0022, and when exploited, it could allow arbitrary code to be run on the device with the elevated privileges of the Bluetooth daemon when the wireless module is active. A security update released on Monday addressed this flaw. CVE-2020-0022 was discovered and reported by the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Secure Mobile Networking Lab, and is considered critical on Android Oreo 8.0 and 8.1 as well as Android Pie 9.0. Attackers could leverage CVE-2020-0022 to spread malware from one vulnerable... Read more...
Fans of Sonos audio systems and wireless speakers that can be moved around the home will appreciate the new leak that shows off the design of the Sonos Move Bluetooth speaker. The leaked images appear to be for marketing materials and show off all aspects of the device, including its charge base. Reports indicate that the Sonos Move is a bit larger than the existing Sonos One speaker. The big feature of the new wireless device is that it can be used as both part of the wireless network of other Sonos devices at home and as a mobile Bluetooth speaker on the go. Sonos Move marks the first time that the manufacturer has integrated the type of wireless connectivity needed for use on the go. Sonos... Read more...
Is your Bluetooth connection secure? Researchers recently discovered a Bluetooth vulnerability that could allow hackers to intercept and manipulate a user’s communications. The researchers tested and found seventeen vulnerable Bluetooth chips in devices from companies such as Intel, Apple, Lenovo, and Qualcomm. The findings were presented at the USENIX Security Symposium by researchers from the Center for IT-Security, Privacy and Accountability (CISPA). The vulnerability has been nicknamed “Key Negotiation Of Bluetooth” or “KNOB”. Every time two Bluetooth devices establish a connection, they also create a new encryption key. Unfortunately, not every device has a... Read more...
Earlier this week we talked about the 40th birthday of the iconic Sony Walkman cassette player that everyone wanted in the '80s. Cassettes were the go-to form factor for portable music for a lot of years before the advent of the CD and odds are people have massive collections of cassette tapes hanging around. A company called It's OK has a new device called the Bluetooth 5.0 Cassette Player. The device brings the cassette player into the modern age to some extent by allowing it to work with your favorite Bluetooth headphones. The cassette player does have a 3.5mm headphone port as well allowing the use of wired headphones. The player has a clear door that opens to secure the tape inside... Read more...
Epic Games just pushed out the v7.30 update for its hugely popular Fortnite battle royale game, which brings with it a number of changes, new weapons, bugfixes and performance improvements. However, the most important update is for mobile users, and that comes in the form of official support for Bluetooth gaming controllers. Just the fact that Fortnite is able to run reasonably well on Android and iOS smartphones is quite the achievement; especially so with the iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max which can run the game at a steady 60 fps. But controlling the game -- even with the rather expansive 6.5-inch display of the iPhone XS Max -- using on-screen controls is just not as... Read more...
Like it or not, the world is trending towards completely wireless solutions, or at least that is the direction some hardware makers are intent on going. As such, Google developed a set of specs called Fast Pair to make it easier to connect Bluetooth headsets and speakers to Android devices. Fast Pair is an involving standard, with Google having now added the ability to sync data across a user's Google account. "Today, we're making it easier for people to connect Fast Pair compatible accessories to devices associated with the same Google Account. Fast Pair will connect accessories to a user's current and future Android phones (6.0+), and we're adding support for Chromebooks in 2019," Google stated... Read more...
If you were to gut just about any flagship Android phone, you would find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 system-on-chip (SoC) sitting inside. It's still the top mobile part in Qualcomm's stable. That will change with the introduction of the Snapdragon 8150, which apparently has not been certified by SIG Labs for Bluetooth connectivity. There are a few things to unpack here, starting with the name. Qualcomm's past naming convention suggests its next flagship mobile will be called Snapdragon 855. That might be still be true, though more recently it was reported it will instead be called Snapdragon 8150 as part of a rebranding effort. That is reinforced by its Bluetooth certification, which lists the... Read more...
This is shaping up to be a busy month for Microsoft. The company has started pushing out its October 2018 Update for Windows 10, and just the other day, it held an event to announce a spattering of Surface products, including the Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2, and Surface Pro 6 with 8th generation Intel Core processors inside. That's not all, though. Microsoft is also releasing a set of Bluetooth headphones with Cortana integration. The new Surface Headphones appear to take aim at the premium headphone space, though we'll have to wait for Microsoft to announce pricing to know what it's going up against. What we do know, however, is that Microsoft is promising a "smarter way to listen" with... Read more...
With some smartphone vendors deciding for the rest of us that we don't need a headphone jack, the time for fast progression on the wireless audio front is needed now. Wireless audio isn't anything new, of course, but it's a technology that's extremely hard to get right. A good wireless solution needs to have decent battery-life, a stable connection, and of course, good audio quality. Again, wireless audio isn't anything new, but when Apple released its wireless AirPods earbuds (and removed the headphone jack from its iPhone at the same time), it seemed to spur every other vendor to begin taking wireless earbuds seriously. Apple has done well, based on the number of AirPods you'll see in use in... Read more...
Valve has enabled support for Bluetooth on the Steam Controller via a Steam Client Beta update. The update brings support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity and Valve points out that the BLE feature is required to use the Steam Link mobile PC game streaming app that will be launching soon. Gamers can change between wireless modes when the update is applied, and Valve gives some tips on when you will want to use BLE. When streaming games to iOS or Android devices via the Steam Link app, you must use BLE connectivity. You can also use BLE when connecting the Steam Controller to a tablet or laptop that lacks a USB port of course as well. BLE will also work if you have misplaced your... Read more...
An updated version of the Raspberry Pi Model B has launched, and this new "Plus" version offers a number of upgrades. The official name is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and it is on sale now for the same $35 price as the previous version of the developer board.  Updates include: A 1.4GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU Dual-band 802.11ac wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.2 Faster Ethernet (Gigabit Ethernet over USB 2.0) Power-over-Ethernet support (with separate PoE HAT) Improved PXE network and USB mass-storage booting Improved thermal management The maximum CPU clock for the B+ is 200MHz higher than the previous version and the wired and wireless network throughput is three times that... Read more...
Innomdle Labs is at CES 2018 and the company is showing off a production version of the Sgnl smart watchstrap. The strap is designed to conduct the sound from your smartphone call up your arm and focus it into the tip of your finger. When you get a call and press the tip of your finger to your ear, you can hear the audio. The company says that the tech keeps your calls completely private and prevents you from having to dig your smartphone out of a pocket. It might be an interesting alternative for people who hate having to plug Bluetooth earbuds into their ear to take a call. Sgnl would also be great for people who use in-car Bluetooth systems and don't want to allow everyone you are riding with... Read more...
We first got a glimpse at the BlueBorne vulnerability back in September, when it was revealed that that Bluetooth-based attack vector was exploitable on phones, computers, and IoT devices -- basically, anything with a Bluetooth radio. BlueBorne was especially nasty since it is capable of man-in-the-middle attacks and remote code execution. It was initially revealed that both Windows- and iOS-based devices had been updated to defend against BlueBorne, while Android device manufacturers should have already delivered updates to address the exploit. However, we're now learning about another category of devices that are susceptible to BlueBorne's nefarious deeds: digital AI assistants. According to... Read more...
Google has come up with a way to make pairing Bluetooth headphones and speakers with an Android phone or tablet much faster and easier than it has been. The new syncing specification is called Fast Pair, and it uses Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) in conjunction with an Android device's location to automatically discover Bluetooth gear in close proximity, which users can sync with a single tap. Fast Pair gives Google an answer to the easy and seamless pairing that exists with Apple's AirPods and iPhone handsets, though the technologies work in different ways. Apple put a small chip inside the AirPods that allows them to communicate with an iPhone, whereas Google is using a classic Bluetooth connection,... Read more...
A security company called Armis is spilling the beans on a collection of eight different exploits that it is collectively calling BlueBorne. These exploits can allow a hacker access to your phone in seconds without having physical access to the device. Perhaps the scariest part of the exploit is that BlueBorne isn't limited to your phone alone; the hack can allow access to phones, computers, and IoT devices. Armis notes that it believes more vulnerabilities lie waiting to be discovered in various platforms that use the Bluetooth wireless communications standard. The firm says that its research proves these vulnerabilities exist and that they can be exploited. BlueBorne can be used to... Read more...
Google’s new Android 8.0 Oreo operating system has only been out for a few days, but hardcore enthusiasts that were eager to download the newest software release are already encountering issues. The most common issue that seems to be affecting users revolves around Bluetooth connectivity. More specifically, both Nexus and Pixel owners are experiencing Bluetooth problems when connecting to wireless speakers, headphones and even Android Auto within their vehicles. Users report problems ranging from audio skipping, to audio completely cutting out to incomplete track information displayed on their dashboards. “Nexus 5x: No sound when connected using android auto, I have not tried with just maps,”... Read more...
If you own a Google Home device and have been craving some Bluetooth audio action, then you should be really happy to know that as of right now, an update is being rolled out to the devices that will remedy a very long-standing request from consumers. Up to this point, those wanting to listen to music through their Google Home have had to use one of the supported platforms, which have included Spotify, Play Music (of course), and Pandora. That's great if you want one of the services, but if you have another app to play your own local music, or some other streaming service, you've been out of luck until right now. In the most up-to-date version of the Google Home app, you should now... Read more...
Fidget spinners are one of the hottest fads at the moment, and they have even gone high-tech. Unfortunately, quality control seems to be woefully lacking. Not only are these toys proving to be a red-hot sales item, they are also literally hot. As in, overheating and catching fire. There have been multiple reports of these Bluetooth-enabled spinners bursting into flames while charging. Kimberly Allums, a mother in Gardendale, Alabama, describes a harrowing incident involving her son, who had plugged in his Bluetooth fidget spinner to charge it. Later on she heard her son screaming from upstairs. "He noticed that it burst into flames and he just started screaming," Allums told WBRC, a local news... Read more...
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