bluetooth

AlexJames

Security risks in Bluetooth devices

Last Updated on 2 years by AlexJames

Some say that Bluetooth technology is running out, but that is being denied. Although Wi-Fi has replaced most of the need to use Bluetooth to transfer data, people still use it with their wireless headphones and other devices.

But it can be a huge security risk, which leaves data at risk of being compromised, especially if older versions of this technology than 4.2 are used.

Bad people also often use Bluetooth connectivity to distribute malicious software by sending signals via certain packets, which may cause disruption to the pairing process or during communication.

Obviously, the best way to reduce the risk would be to disable Bluetooth.

But let’s face it, that’s not a viable option if, for example, we use a Smartwatch or a hands-free car.

Common Bluetooth Security Issues

The four most common ways to attack a Bluetooth device are blue bugging, bluejacking, blue bone, and bluesnafing. We will briefly describe each of them before moving on to safety precautions.

 

With this type of attack, the hacker can control the device to make calls, send and read SMS, have access to contacts to delete or fix them, spy on conversations, and connect to the Internet.

To do this, you create a backdoor by tricking the phone, for example, by pretending to be a wireless headset or other so-called trusted device that uses Bluetooth.

It may also use errors (bugs) in verifying device authenticity or the victim’s BlueTooth capabilities.

To commit a heinous act, the offender must be within 10 meters of the target device or have physical access to it.

Blue jacking

Bluejacking describes the act of sending anonymous messages, even images, to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, in-car devices, printers, and personal data assistants (PDAs).

In general, it usually does not go beyond being an annoying joke, or a way to convey an advertising message in a big way.

Although the sender does not take control of the device, if combined with another type of attack, it can lead to very serious problems.

It is usually done in densely populated areas (airports, supermarkets, train stations, etc.) for people with Bluetooth devices turned on.

It need not be considered a crime.

Blueborne

Probably the most dangerous attack.

In a nutshell, BlueBorne is an attack vector that can allow cybercriminals to use Bluetooth connections to control devices silently, using known or zero-risk threats.

It does not require any contact on the victim’s side.

For the device to be compromised, it does not need to be paired with an attacker device. It does not even have to be set in the available mode. Since disabling this feature does not prevent attackers from accessing the device.

This type of attack could endanger thousands of Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, computers, entertainment systems, and medical devices running on any of the major operating systems: Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux.

BlueBorne can serve a variety of malicious purposes, such as spyware, data theft, ransomware attacks, and even the creation of large botnets.

Bluesnarfing

Lastly, Bluesnarfing refers to data theft via unauthorized access via Bluetooth.

Criminals often combine Bluebugging and Bluesnarfing methods to hack a user’s device and steal data. Such as contacts, messages, photos, videos, and passwords from the victim’s device.

Some attackers can use the victim’s phone to drive long distances, leaving the owner with huge phone debt.

They usually use problems with specific use of the Object Exchange Protocol (OBEX). Commonly used to exchange information between wireless devices.

Bluesnarfing tools are readily available online, as well as information on how to use them.

How to reduce safety risks

Developers and software developers are constantly working to improve Bluetooth connectivity with devices.

And like smartphones, these days come with built-in authentication. Bluetooth attacks are down.

But villains are constantly developing new strategies for finding different ways to hack our devices. And the Bluetooth system is on their stuff.

Shut down if not used

Criminals apparently target people who leave Bluetooth on for too long. Be sure to turn off Bluetooth when not in use to minimize the risk of attack. Especially if you have an old phone.

You will also save battery.

Keep your device up to date

It is important to use the latest version of Bluetooth (since version 4.0 all communications between devices will be automatically encrypted and with it, the information you send) and make sure the operating system is up and running.

Updates bring in bug fixes and security patches. Without them, your device will be vulnerable to hackers who seek their next mandate.

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