CyRC Vulnerability Advisory: Denial-of-service vulnerabilities in Zephyr Bluetooth LE stack

Eight vulnerabilities were discovered in Zephyr’s Bluetooth LE Stack using Defensics Bluetooth LE fuzzing solution.

CyRC advisory Zephry

Overview

Zephyr OS is an Apache licensed real-time operating system project backed by the Linux Foundation and many big industry vendors. Zephyr is mainly used in embedded and resource-constrained systems. It supports a very wide variety of boards with different CPU architectures including ARM Cortex-M, Intel x86, ARC, NIOS II, Tensilica Xtensa, SPARC V8, and RISC-V 32. Zephyr’s native network stack supports multiple protocols including LwM2M, BSD sockets, OpenThread, full Bluetooth LE stack including Link Layer (LL), and Bluetooth Mesh.

The Bluetooth stack is split into two main components: host and controller. Zephyr’s Bluetooth LE controller is used as a part of the Synopsys Defensics Bluetooth LE fuzzing solution. To ensure the highest quality and security of our product, Zephyr’s Bluetooth LE stack’s lowest layers were fuzz tested using Defensics Bluetooth LE test suites.

Eight different vulnerabilities were discovered in the Bluetooth LE Link Layer and L2CAP implementation. The vulnerabilities can be divided into three high-level categories:

  • Freeze: This vulnerability makes it possible for an attacker to remotely cause freeze or assertion failure on a target device by sending malformed input. In the case of a freeze, the behavior of a target device depends on whether assertions are enabled and if the error handler for fatal errors exists. It is common for the device to restart itself in case of hard faults. An attacker might use this to restart the device over the air with single packet when exploiting some other vulnerabilities. In some circumstances, freezing may lead to remote code execution.
  • Deadlock: Some of the vulnerabilities can lead to a situation in which the target device misbehaves in a way that prevents other devices from connecting to it. The target must be rebooted to recover to normal state.
  • Information leak: This vulnerability makes it possible for an attacker to gain access to potentially confidential information like encryption keys or information about memory layout. This type of vulnerability may also be used when the attacker is trying to bypass mitigation techniques like address space layout randomization, which is not present in Zephyr.
CVE ID Vulnerability type Host / Controller Description
CVE-2021-3430 Freeze Controller Assertion failure on repeated LL_CONNECTION_PARAM_REQ
CVE-2021-3431 Freeze Controller Assertion failure on certain repeated LL packets
CVE-2021-3432 Freeze Controller Invalid interval in CONNECT_IND leads to Division by Zero
CVE-2021-3433 Deadlock Controller Invalid channel map in CONNECT_IND results to Deadlock
CVE-2021-3434 Freeze Host L2CAP: Stack based buffer overflow in le_ecred_conn_req()
CVE-2021-3435 Information leak Host L2CAP: Information leakage in le_ecred_conn_req()
CVE-2021-3454 Freeze Host L2CAP: Truncated L2CAP K-frame causes assertion failure
CVE-2021-3455 Freeze Host Disconnecting L2CAP channel right after invalid ATT request leads to use-after-free

Impact

All the reported vulnerabilities can be triggered from within the range of Bluetooth LE. Triggering the vulnerability does not require authentication or encryption. The only requirement is that the device is in advertising mode and accepting connections.

CVE-2021-3430: Assertion failure on repeated LL_CONNECTION_PARAM_REQ

The attacker is able to disrupt all ongoing communication and create a denial-of-service situation caused by reachable assertion by sending repeated LL_CONNECTION_PARAM_REQ packets to any Zephyr-based Bluetooth LE device that is advertising and connectable.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0, 1.14
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 5.9 (Medium)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-617
CVE-2021-3431: Assertion failure on certain repeated LL packets

The attacker is able to disrupt all ongoing communication and create a denial-of-service situation caused by reachable assertion by sending repeated LL_FEATURE_REQ, LL_PING_REQ, LL_LENGTH_REQ, or LL_PHY_REQ packets to any Zephyr-based Bluetooth LE device that is advertising and connectable.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 5.9 (Medium)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-617
CVE-2021-3432: Invalid interval in CONNECT_IND leads to division by zero

The attacker is able to disrupt all ongoing communication and create a denial-of-service situation caused by division by zero by sending an invalid interval value in a CONNECT_IND packet to any Zephyr-based Bluetooth LE device that is advertising and connectable.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0, 1.14
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 5.9 (Medium)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-369
CVE-2021-3433: Invalid channel map in CONNECT_IND results to deadlock

The attacker is able to create a denial-of-service situation caused by deadlock by sending an invalid channel map value in a CONNECT_IND packet to any Zephyr-based Bluetooth LE device that is advertising and connectable.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0, 1.14
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 3.9 (Low)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:L/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-703
CVE-2021-3434: L2CAP: Stack based buffer overflow in le_ecred_conn_req()

The attacker is able to create a denial-of-service situation at minimum, but could also potentially achieve remote code execution by exploiting the stack-based buffer overflow in Zephyr’s L2CAP implementation.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 7.7 (High)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H/E:U/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-121
CVE-2021-3435: L2CAP: Information leakage in le_ecred_conn_req()

The attacker is able to read potentially confidential information, up to 6 bytes of uninitialized memory content, by sending one malformed L2CAP_CREDIT_BASED_CONNECTION_REQ packet. The request can be repeated to gain more data.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 5.9 (Medium)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:N/A:N/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-908
CVE-2021-3454: L2CAP: Truncated L2CAP K-frame causes assertion failure

The attacker is able to disrupt all ongoing communication and create a denial-of-service situation caused by reachable assertion by sending a truncated L2CAP K-frame packet to any Zephyr-based Bluetooth LE device that is advertising and connectable.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 5.9 (Medium)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:N/I:N/A:H/E:P/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-617
CVE-2021-3455: Disconnecting L2CAP channel right after invalid ATT request leads to use-after-free

The attacker is able to create a denial-of-service situation at minimum, but also potentially achieve remote code execution by exploiting the use-after-free in Zephyr’s L2CAP implementation.

  • Affected Zephyr versions: 2.5.0, 2.4.0
  • CVSSv3.1 overall score: 7.7 (High)
  • CVSS:3.1/AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H/E:U/RL:O/RC:C
  • CWE-416

Technical details

CVE-2021-3430: Assertion failure on repeated LL_CONNECTION_PARAM_REQ

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-46h3-hjcq-2jjr

The assertion failure happened in ull_conn.c inside a ctlr_rx() function because the implementation did not clearly allow two connection parameters request procedures to be initiated by the central device at the same time. This is the correct behavior from specification point of view, but there should be a less destructive way to handle that. If the assertions were disabled, this test case would not cause problems.

This issue was resolved by replacing the assert with a comment and marking the buffer ready to be released. The fix was introduced in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33272

CVE-2021-3431: Assertion failure on certain repeated LL packets

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-7548-5m6f-mqv9

The assertion failure happened in the Nordic’s implementation of the lower Link Layer in lll_conn.c, isr_done() because of the Link Layer control procedure transaction collision. If the assertions were disabled, we saw a denial-of-service situation because the stack went into state, and it did not restart advertising after disconnection. Reboot is needed to recover.

Fixing this required adding new a locking mechanism for Link Layer control procedures. The fix was introduced in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33340

CVE-2021-3432: Invalid interval in CONNECT_IND leads to division by zero

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-7364-p4wc-8mj4
Function ull_slave_setup() in ull-slave.c did not check if the interval value was in valid range. CONNECT_IND with an interval value set to 0x0000 causes division by zero, leading to freeze.

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33278

CVE-2021-3433: Invalid channel map in CONNECT_IND results to Deadlock

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-3c2f-w4v6-qxrp

Error handling of the ull_slave_setup() function in ull-slave.c was not working properly. There were two places where the function did an early return if it detected an invalid channel map value in CONNEC_IND PDU to prevent misbehavior or freeze. The problem was that the early return did not seem to be enough, as the device did not resume advertising after rejecting the connection when it received a channel map value with all zeros.

Freeze on channel map value 0x000000 was initially found in the Sweyntooth bundle of vulnerabilities and it was partially fixed with these commits:

https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/commit/4a5f263e5a658bb35c1dd9215fe62939f175c859
https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/commit/94d5f0854e491e594c2040fe0f061850848081fc

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33278

CVE-2021-3434: L2CAP: Stack based buffer overflow in le_ecred_conn_req()

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-8w87-6rfp-cfrm
 
Function le_ecred_conn_req() did not check if the size of the incoming L2CAP_CREDIT_BASED_CONNECTION_REQ was too big and interpreted the overflowing data as a huge list of source CIDs. At the beginning of the function, variable chan is allocated memory from stack for L2CAP_ECRED_CHAN_MAX number of pointers to bt_l2cap_chan structs. Variable dcid is allocated memory from stack for L2CAP_ECRED_CHAN_MAX number of uint16_t values. L2CAP_ECRED_CHAN_MAX has been defined to be 5.

Later, the buffer overflow happened when l2cap_chan_accept() was called for all the source CIDs one by one. This didn’t yet freeze the execution. Another overflow happened on line 1152 where dcid is overflown.

Finally, there was another buffer overflow when constructing the L2CAP_CREDIT_BASED_CONNECTION_RSP, which then caused the freeze.

Enabling assertions led to assertion failure when trying to copy too much data into an outgoing L2CAP_CREDIT_BASED_CONNECTION_RSP packet.

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33305

CVE-2021-3435: L2CAP: Information leakage in le_ecred_conn_req()

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-xhg3-gvj6-4rqh

Bug laid on the line where the value for i is calculated. This line did not take into account that if the connection request packet was too small, the buf still contains the whole packet, not just the source CIDs.

Later, uninitialized memory content was copied into the buffer of the outgoing packet.

Variable dcid is allocated from the stack. An uninitialized array could contain anything that happens to be in this memory location, for example, encryption keys.

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/33305

CVE-2021-3454: L2CAP: Truncated L2CAP K-frame causes assertion failure

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-fx88-6c29-vrp3

This happened because in the l2cap_chan_le_recv() function, when getting the SDU length from the buffer, the length of the buffer is not checked, and a later call to net_buf_pull_le16(buf) leads to assertion. If assertions were disabled, the SDU length would be calculated wrong and the packet would soon be dropped due to invalid SDU length.

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/32588

CVE-2021-3455: Disconnecting L2CAP channel right after invalid ATT request leads to use-after-free

Zephyr security advisory: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/security/advisories/GHSA-7g38-3x9v-v7vp

When the central device connected to the peripheral and created an L2CAP connection for enhanced ATT, it sent some invalid ATT requests and disconnected, which immediately caused a freeze. This happened because the L2CAP channel was already in a disconnected state when the Zephyr stack called sent callback l2cap_chan_sdu_sent() and further bt_att_sent(). In bt_att_sent() freeze happens because the already freed memory block is being accessed.

This vulnerability was fixed in this pull request: https://github.com/zephyrproject-rtos/zephyr/pull/35597

Remediation

Product manufacturers using the Zephyr OS in their product are encouraged to update their Zephyr version to include latest security fixes. Zephyr’s security policy guarantees that security patches are backported to the two most recent releases and to active LTS release. For non-LTS Zephyr versions, manufacturers may need to take care of backporting the security patches themselves.

End users with products that include the firmware based on vulnerable Zephyr OS versions are strongly encouraged to upgrade to latest firmware version available from the vendor.

Discovery credit

Matias Karhumaa from the Synopsys Cybersecurity Research Center (CyRC) in Oulu, Finland, discovered these weaknesses with Defensics Bluetooth LE LL peripheral test suite and Bluetooth LE L2CAP server test suite.

Synopsys would like to thank the Zephyr security team and the maintainers of Zephyr Bluetooth subsystem for their responsiveness and for great cooperation.

Timeline

  • February 2, 2021: Vulnerabilities discovered and analyzed.
  • March 11, 2021: Vulnerabilities reported to Zephyr security team.
  • March 11, 2021: Zephyr acknowledges the findings.
  • March 15, 2021: Zephyr developers provide fixes to most of the Link Layer issues.
  • March 17, 2021: Zephyr developers provide fixes to L2CAP related issues. However, while verifying the fixes two new issues are found in L2CAP.
  • March 18, 2021: Two new L2CAP vulnerabilities reported to Zephyr security team.
  • March 19, 2021: Zephyr security team acknowledges the issues.
  • May 25, 2021: Last pending L2CAP vulnerability fixed and verified.
  • June 5, 2021: Zephyr 2.6.0 released. The release includes fixes to all the reported vulnerabilities.
  • June 22, 2021: Advisory published by Synopsys.

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Matias Karhumaa

Posted by

Matias Karhumaa

Matias Karhumaa

Matias Karhumaa is a security-minded senior software engineer at Synopsys. He is developing new solutions for wireless device fuzzing, mainly for Bluetooth. In addition to breaking software, he enjoys mountain biking in his spare time.


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