Cybersecurity · · 3 min read

Understanding CVE-2023-45866: A Critical Bluetooth Security Flaw

Understanding CVE-2023-45866: A Critical Bluetooth Security Flaw

Dear Readers,

As we navigate the intricate web of the digital world, it's imperative to stay alert and informed about potential cyber threats. Today, we delve into a topic that resonates with everyone in our tech-savvy community – cybersecurity. In this special feature, we uncover the details of CVE-2023-45866, a critical vulnerability in Bluetooth technology that poses a significant risk to a wide array of devices.

Join us as we explore the intricacies of this security flaw, its widespread impact, and the commendable efforts of Marc Newlin, the cybersecurity expert who brought it to light. Our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of CVE-2023-45866 and to emphasize the importance of cybersecurity vigilance in our increasingly connected world.

Get ready to dive deep into the realm of digital security with us.

CVE-2023-45866: The Technical Breakdown

CVE-2023-45866 is a severe security flaw in Bluetooth, classified under "Improper Authentication" (CWE-287), and carrying a high CVSS score of 8.8. This critical vulnerability allows remote escalation of privileges without additional execution privileges or user interaction​​. In practical terms, it means an attacker could gain higher-level access to a device or network, similar to that of an authorized user, without needing any additional permissions or user interaction.

Impact and Reach

Impact on Operating Systems

The CVE-2023-45866 Bluetooth flaw presents a significant threat to a range of widely-used operating systems, namely Android, Linux, macOS, and iOS. This wide-ranging impact makes it a critical concern for users and organizations alike, as these systems form the backbone of countless computing devices worldwide. The vulnerability's ability to cross-platform boundaries signifies a broad security risk.

Reach Across Bluetooth Stacks

More alarmingly, CVE-2023-45866 affects multiple Bluetooth stacks, not just a single implementation. This means that a diverse array of devices, irrespective of their specific Bluetooth configurations, could be susceptible to this vulnerability. This broad reach across various Bluetooth stacks substantially increases the potential scale of cyber-attacks, making the flaw a high-priority concern for cybersecurity efforts.

In summary, the extensive impact and reach of CVE-2023-45866 underscore the critical need for robust security measures and prompt patching across all affected platforms.

The Discovery by Marc Newlin

Marc Newlin, a software engineer at SkySafe, identified this years-old Bluetooth authentication bypass vulnerability. His findings revealed that the exploit could be executed from a Linux machine using a standard Bluetooth adapter, without the need for any special hardware. Newlin responsibly reported this flaw to major stakeholders, including Apple, Google, Canonical, and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG)​​.

Marc Newlin's Previous Work

Interestingly, CVE-2023-45866 is not Newlin's first significant discovery in the realm of Bluetooth security. He previously identified a similar set of flaws in 2016, known as "MouseJack", which exploited keystroke-injection vulnerabilities in wireless mice and keyboards. Newlin's consistent contributions highlight his expertise and vigilance in the field of cybersecurity.

Mitigation and Responses

To address CVE-2023-45866, Google has released patches for Android devices, specifically for versions 11 through 14. These updates are crucial for safeguarding devices against potential exploits. Similarly, while the issue was addressed in Linux in 2020, only ChromeOS among the Linux-based operating systems enabled the fix by default. Other distributions like Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo, Arch, and Alpine did not, leaving them vulnerable​​.

Apple's Response

The vulnerability also affects macOS and iOS devices, especially when a Magic Keyboard is paired. Apple, having been notified by Newlin in August, confirmed the report but has yet to share a timeline for patching the vulnerability. This lapse highlights the need for expedited responses from major tech companies in patching critical security flaws​​.


CVE-2023-45866 underscores the ongoing challenges in securing wireless communication technologies. The broad impact of this vulnerability emphasizes the necessity of vigilant cybersecurity practices and timely application of security patches. It also showcases the crucial role of security researchers like Marc Newlin in identifying and reporting vulnerabilities, thus contributing significantly to the collective digital security.

Stay tuned to our blog for more in-depth information and updates on cybersecurity. We value your insights and encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.

Read next