Bluetooth Worms: Models, Dynamics, and Defense Implications

Guanhua Yan
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Stephan Eidenbenz
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Recent occurrences of mobile phone worms like Cabir, Mabir and
CommWarrior have created growing concerns over the security of data
stored on mobile devices such as cell phones and PDAs. These worms
have in common that they all use Bluetooth communication as their
infection channel. In order to prepare effective defense strategies
against such worms, we study the nature, characteristics, and
spreading dynamics of Bluetooth worms in the safe environment of
simulation. Our key findings are: (i) Mobility may not boost the
Bluetooth worm propagation; instead, link instability owing to it has
negative impact on the worm spreading speed; (ii) The inherent
capacity constraints imposed by the wireless channel
(e.g. interference) and the specifics of the Bluetooth protocol can
significantly slow down the Bluetooth worm propagation; (iii)
Intelligently designed worms can improve their propagation speed to a
noticeable degree by strategically selecting worm model parameters or
exploiting out-of-band propagation capabilities.

Keywords: Bluetooth, Worm

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