Sending files between devices over Bluetooth today sounds old school. It works over distances. It’s slower compared to newer and more improved technologies like WiFi. That’s how most people think about Bluetooth currently. But did you know that Bluetooth hacks and attacks are real? Below, we offer tips on how you can secure your device and stay safe from Bluetooth hacks and attacks.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows electronic devices to exchange data over short distances. These devices take in smartphones, portable speakers, tablets, PDAs, smart watches, wearable fitness monitors – etcetera. Ever since its invention in 1994 by Dutch electrical engineer Jaap Haartsen, Bluetooth technology has become part of our lives. There are an estimated 8.2 Bluetooth enabled devices in the world today. It’s in our houses, cars, pockets, around our wrists. It’s everywhere!
Bluetooth sniffing tools are still inferior when equated to those available for sniffing other forms of wireless connections for instance WiFi. This makes it harder for hackers to develop exploits for Bluetooth devices. However, it also makes it more problematic to realistically evaluate Bluetooth safety from hacks.
In 2017, Armis security published details of a Bluetooth vulnerability dubbed Blueborne that could potentially expose millions of devices to remote attack. Blueborne worked by camouflaging as a Bluetooth device and ill-using the weaknesses in the protocol to deploy malicious code. Here are 5 tips to keep you safe from Bluetooth hacks and attacks.
How to stay safe from Bluetooth hacks and attacks
Enable Bluetooth only when required
This is important because for hackers can only connect remotely to your device when its Bluetooth is powered on. With Bluetooth on, hackers can see what networks you have previously connected to and spoof them. This tricks your device into connecting to Bluetooth devices of the hackers giving them control. Once in control of your device, hackers can barrage your device with malware, steal data or even spy on you.
Enable Bluetooth discovery only when necessary, and disable discovery when finished
Turning your Bluetooth setting to invisible makes it harder for hackers to discover your device, thus making it more difficult for them to steal your data. It is still possible to connect to your device even when you make it “non-discover-able”, but it is less frequent.
Do not enter link keys or PINs when unexpectedly prompted to do so
This is the equivalent of opening the door wide for the thief to enter your house. Hackers may want to prompt you to let them in. Do not accept pairing requests from unknown devices.
Regularly update firmware on Bluetooth-enabled devices
Firmware updates entail security patches to hackers’ exploits. Bad guys take time to create exploits that utilize loop holes in the software. Normally, security updates cover those loop holes hence sending the bad guys back to the drawing boards once again. Constantly updating your device’s firmware improves security and consequently prevents chances of falling victim to hacks.
Use two-factor authentication.
Many key internet websites will make available a login option for two-factor authentication. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Google are examples of such companies that will ask you for a secret code that is sent through text message to your cellphone. This is a great form of protection because even if the hacker succeeds in stealing password information from your device using Bluetooth hacks and attacks, it would be impossible to login without having full access to your phone.
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