Insurance and Finance

Is your Bluetooth Secure?

By Matthew Shelly 3.12.13

As Bluetooth technology becomes more ubiquitous, it’s important to understand the vulnerability of personal information and the severity of your Bluetooth being hacked. And it’s also important to learn how to defend against it.

In a crowded public place like a mall, you could open your phone’s Bluetooth settings, and, with a simple search of discoverable devices, you would certainly see a large list of phones within range that are broadcasting their Bluetooth signal for all to see.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can just start connecting and downloading everyone’s personal emails, photos and texts. But with the right knowledge and the wrong intentions, it’s not so difficult. It becomes easy to see how vulnerable and susceptible most people are simply because they don’t understand this incredibly convenient technology.

There are several forms of Bluetooth hacking and countless tools that are readily available online for hackers to use to exploit vulnerabilities of Bluetooth technology.

Your phone carries a specific Bluetag which can be used to track your movements. Bluejacking allows someone to send unsolicited messages over Bluetooth to discoverable devices. Bluesnarfing is the act of copying all info from a device with the added hit of shutting down the device and possibly making it unusable.

If your phone is always in discoverable mode, it is especially susceptible to hacking, but even in non-discoverable mode, certain hacking techniques can use brute force to determine the address of your device and hack accordingly.

The only way to protect yourself from Bluetooth security weaknesses is to turn Bluetooth off when you aren’t using it, and only pair with devices in private locations. Be sure to check your Bluetooth settings occasionally to ensure that no unknown devices are connected without your knowledge.

Unfortunately, most phones don’t provide easy to use shortcuts to turn Bluetooth on and off, but it’s mostly no more than a few finger taps away to ensure the safety and security of everything you store on your phone.