Bluetooth is amazing technology. It lets you connect your mobile to your car, your tablet to your television, control your lights from your smart phone, and more. It can also be a way for crooks to steal your identity. That’s why more than 3.6 billion devices ship with Bluetooth technology every year.
When Bluetooth is on, it is constantly searching for devices to connect with. That means it is open to being exploited. That is why you should turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it.
Bluejacking is the name given to hacker attacks that connect to your smartphone and use it to send anonymous messages to nearby devices. While the hacker does not get control of the device, it can send unwanted messages to nearby contacts.
Hackers use tools with names like BlueSniff or RedFang to infiltrate Bluetooth devices. This lets them intercept communications, send and receive text messages, and reroute communications. Imagine the amount of personal information it could gather! In addition, it can be used as a bugging device, meaning hackers can listen it to phone calls or use it to make calls.
Without you knowing it is happening, bluesnarfing attacks lets hackers gain unauthorized access to your devices. Once connected without any pairing or user action required, attackers can read emails and text messages, and access calendars and contact lists.
A vector named BlueBorne attacks Bluetooth-enabled devices. The IT security company Armis uncovered this insidious malware which spreads from device to device exploiting Bluetooth technology. Unlike traditional malware attacks, users do not have to click on a link or download a file to enable it; it literally spreads through the air with no user action required. It does not have to be paired. It allows the attacker to take full control of the device and grab whatever information they want.
Hackers recently installed snooping technology on a drone and connected to smart phones via Bluetooth and WiFi. By impersonating safe networks and connections, hackers were able to read mail, steal email addresses, location data, user names, and passwords.
Are You Safe?
Bluetooth connects over short distances – roughly 33 feet. This means anyone in close proximity to you may be able to see your device if you leave Bluetooth on.
Do you trust your neighbor? They may be close enough to gain access to your electronics via Bluetooth.
The Bottom Line
Protect your information and protect yourself. Turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it and it will make it that much harder for hackers to gain control of your Bluetooth-enabled device and access your personal information.