Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Safety researchers used a Bluetooth vulnerability to alter unfavorable outcomes to optimistic.


Safety researchers at F-Safe recognized a Bluetooth vulnerability in a house check for COVID-19 that may very well be used to govern check outcomes. Ellume, the producer, addressed the flaw when F-Safe shared the issue with them.

Picture: F-Safe

Safety researchers discovered a vulnerability in a house check for COVID-19 {that a} dangerous actor may use to alter check outcomes from optimistic to unfavorable or vice versa. F-Safe discovered that the Ellume COVID-19 House Check may very well be manipulated through the Bluetooth gadget that analyzes a nasal pattern and communicates the outcomes to the app.

Ellume mounted the flaw after F-Safe defined the vulnerability. Ellume is without doubt one of the exams travellers can use to enter the USA. Some occasion organizers are requiring proof of vaccination for attendees, together with CES 2022. If an attendee exams optimistic throughout that occasion, she or he might be requested to return the occasion badge and quarantine for 10 days. 

This is how the check works: A consumer downloads an app, solutions a couple of screening questions, watches an informational video after which performs the check. The testing gadget connects to the app through Bluetooth to report the check outcomes. 

The corporate defined the flaw this manner:

“F-Safe decided that by altering solely the byte worth representing the ‘standing of the check’ in each STATUS and MEASUREMENT_CONTROL_DATA site visitors, adopted by calculating new CRC and checksum values, it was potential to change the COVID check consequence earlier than the Ellume app processes the info.”

Safety researchers exploited the vulnerability to alter a unfavorable check to optimistic. The app routinely reviews the required knowledge to well being authorities through a HIPAA compliant cloud connection. 

Allume additionally presents a video commentary service to confirm the test-taking course of and the outcomes. A proctor watches a person taking the check after which points a certificates with the outcomes.

 This false report was mirrored within the official certificates issued by Ellume, which listed a optimistic check consequence for COVID-19. F-Safe posted the analysis information for this experiment on Github.

Ken Gannon, a principal safety marketing consultant in F-Safe’s New York Metropolis workplace, discovered the flaw that enables a nasty actor to alter the outcomes after the Bluetooth analyzer performs the check however earlier than the outcomes are reported by the app.

“Previous to Ellume’s fixes, extremely expert people or organizations with cybersecurity experience making an attempt to avoid public well being measures meant to curb COVID’s unfold, may’ve completed so by replicating our findings,” Gannon stated in a press launch. “Somebody with the right motivation and technical expertise may’ve used these flaws to make sure they, or somebody they’re working with, will get a unfavorable consequence each time they’re examined.”

F-Safe contacted Ellume to clarify these findings earlier than making a public announcement and beneficial that the corporate take these steps: 

  • Implement additional evaluation of outcomes to flag spoofed knowledge
  • Implement further obfuscation and OS checks within the Android app

Alan Fox, head of data techniques at Ellume, stated in a press launch that the corporate has up to date its system to detect and forestall the transmission of falsified outcomes. 

“We will even ship a verification portal to permit organizations — together with well being departments, employers, faculties and others — to confirm the authenticity of the Ellume COVID-19 House Check,” he stated. “We want to thank F-Safe for bringing this challenge to our consideration.”

Ellume’s house check was accredited by the FDA in December 2020 and is without doubt one of the check worldwide travellers can use to point out unfavorable check outcomes.

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