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MARC: A Novel Framework for Detecting MITM Attacks in eHealthcare BLE Systems


Real-time and ubiquitous patient monitoring demands the use of wireless data acquisition through resource constrained medical sensors, mostly configured with No-input No-output (NiNo) capabilities. Bluetooth is one of the most popular and widely adopted means of communicating this sensed information to a mobile terminal. However, over simplified implementations of Bluetooth low energy (BLE) protocol in eHealth sector is susceptible to several wireless attacks, in particular the Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack. The issue arises due to a lack of mutual authentication and integrity protection between the communicating devices, which may lead to compromise of confidentiality, availability and even the integrity of this safety-critical information. This research paper presents a novel framework named MARC to detect, analyze, and mitigate Bluetooth security flaws while focusing upon MITM attack against NiNo devices. For this purpose, a comprehensive solution has been proposed, which can detect MITM signatures based upon four novel anomaly detection metrics: analyzing Malicious scan requests, Advertisement intervals, RSSI levels, and Cloned node addresses. The proposed solution has been evaluated through practical implementation and demonstration of different attack scenarios, which show promising results concerning accurate and efficient detection of MITM attacks.

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The authors extend their appreciation to the Deanship of Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this work through research group no (RG-1439-022).

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Correspondence to Haider Abbas.

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• Simulation of MITM attack using Gattacker on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) NiNo devices.

• Detailed comparison and critical analysis of existing solutions.

• Automated detection of MITM and cloned-node attacks using a novel mechanism.

• Design evaluation through implementation of multiple mitigation techniques

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Systems-Level Quality Improvement

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Yaseen, M., Iqbal, W., Rashid, I. et al. MARC: A Novel Framework for Detecting MITM Attacks in eHealthcare BLE Systems. J Med Syst 43, 324 (2019).

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  • No-input No-output (NiNo) device
  • eHealthcare
  • BLE
  • MITM attack
  • Sensors security
  • MARC