Hello, and welcome back to this next TomCast from GuardSight; we are a tactical cybersecurity-as-a-service organization dedicated to helping businesses protect their data, their assets, and their endpoints.

Today we are continuing the series on the National Institute of Standards and Technology, otherwise referred to as NIST. Before I go over which publication we’re discussing today, ask yourself this question. Do you, or does anyone you know, utilize any type of Bluetooth technology within your organization? If the answer is yes, does your organization have a security policy in place that specifically addresses Bluetooth technology?

So, as you may have surmised, we will be looking at the NIST Special Publication 800-121, Revision 2, the Guide to Bluetooth Security. This guide was last updated in 2017, so it isn’t necessarily the most recent publication out there, but it does contain extremely useful information. Also, this was a collaborative effort between professionals in multiple parts of the world; the UK is represented, Germany is represented, and professionals in Virginia and Colorado also provided their input.

In the executive summary of this publication the writers made certain to mention the various versions of Bluetooth out there that the publication addresses, what Bluetooth is by definition, and there is a particular sentence bolded about ¾ of the way down the page that states the following:

“Organizations should use the strongest Bluetooth security mode that is available for their Bluetooth devices.”

After that strong suggestion the publication goes into what security is available in the various versions of Bluetooth to provide the reader reasoning behind the statement made. As the reader continues into the second page of the executive summary, there are a couple more bolded statements, and they are as follows:

“Organizations should address Bluetooth wireless technology in their security policies andchange default settings of Bluetooth devices to reflect the policies”


“Organizations should ensure that their Bluetooth users are made aware of their security related responsibilities regarding Bluetooth use.”

After each bolded statement comes reasoning that explains why the statement was made. Think of your organization. Do people just connect Bluetooth devices without much thought? Have you ever looked into changing default Bluetooth settings on a device before? There is a lot of technology out there that we simply take at face value and never really think about with regards to security.

Back to 800-121, the entire publication is only 57 pages, with the main content ending on page 49. The publication provides an overview of Bluetooth technology, the security features of Bluetooth, and the various vulnerabilities, threats, and countermeasures that can be used. There is also a Bluetooth security checklist that provides recommended practices that a security analyst, security administrator, or system administrator could use to go over and verify whether or not the best practices are being used to secure Bluetooth technology in the organization.

This publication dives deep into the various aspects of Bluetooth technology. After you are finished reading the document you will know the frequency band Bluetooth operates in, you will know how far in both feet and meters the different types of Bluetooth technologies can operate, you will learn the data transmission rates of the different types, the different Bluetooth architectures, and more.

You will see various acronyms that may confuse at first, since, after all, technology likes to reuse letters with acronyms. EDR in this publication stands for Enhanced Data Rate, for example, not Endpoint Detection and Response (as many of us in security use that acronym). Take your time and read this document to become more familiar with the ins and outs of the technology. It will be well worth your time.

If you are struggling with how to secure your Bluetooth technologies, have experienced a compromise of your Bluetooth technologies, or just want to speak with someone that can help you better understand Bluetooth and security, reach out to one of the representatives within GuardSight. They are very familiar with securing perimeters, securing assets, threat hunting, incident response, and much, much more. They would be happy to assist you in securing your Bluetooth-enabled assets from the many threats out there.

We here at GuardSight thank you for taking the time to listen to this TomCast. For more information on various cybersecurity tips head on over to our website and check out more TomCasts. Those are located over on www.guardsight.com/tomcast. Or, if you would like more information on what GuardSight can do for you, head on over to www.guardsight.com and contact us. There are several free cybersecurity tools out there that can help you improve your overall security posture. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks!