Can Bluetooth be hacked? – Android Authority

Can Bluetooth be hacked?  – Android Authority

Bluetooth is an extremely popular connectivity technology that has been around for a long time. The useful technology is available on almost all smartphones, tablets and laptops. It’s a convenient way to transfer files and connect and use a variety of external devices and accessories such as external speakers, smartwatches, fitness trackers, wireless headphones, game controllers and even your car. But can Bluetooth be hacked? Here’s what you need to know.

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Yes, Bluetooth can be hacked. Hackers rely on proximity to establish a remote connection on your device to install malware and other malicious software to gain access to your personal information. Hackers use a few different types of Bluetooth hacking methods, but there are ways you can protect yourself.


Can Bluetooth be hacked?

Bluetooth icon toggles on smartphone settings menu

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

The short answer: Yes, Bluetooth can be hacked. Although Bluetooth connections occur over short distances, they are still vulnerable, like any unsecured wireless network. Hackers can use Bluetooth to perform malicious attacks on Bluetooth-enabled devices to steal personal information, install malware, and more.

In recent years, cybercriminals have figured out ways to hack a device’s Bluetooth connection and take control of your phone or laptop in less than a minute. The short range of Bluetooth connections means hackers have to get close to your device. Crowded public places, such as the subway, coffee shops and others where someone can be around long enough, are hotspots for such activity.

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Types of Bluetooth Hacks

Bluetooth devices stock photo 1

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are a few types of Bluetooth hacks, from annoying to extremely dangerous. Bluejacking is a method hackers use to connect to a smartphone, tablet or laptop with Bluetooth enabled and send spam messages with attached images, files and links. You can avoid these messages by being aware of and declining pairing requests that may appear randomly on your phone. Bluejacking is usually harmless unless you open the sent file or link. This will allow hackers to install malware on your device and gain access to it and any personal information stored on it.

Bluesnarfing is similar to Bluejacking, but with more malicious intent. Hackers can use the established Bluetooth connection to collect personal information from your device. This includes everything from chat messages, photos and documents, to login information for devices and apps. They can then use potentially harmful information to extort money from you.

Bluebugging is the most dangerous type of Bluetooth hacking that skilled hackers can use. It is called Bluebugging because of its similarity to spycraft-like wiretapping. This method establishes a secret connection to your device and sets up backdoor access. With this access, hackers get full access to your device. They can use it to obtain personal information, access apps on your device, and monitor your usage and any activity. Hackers can also use this method to listen in on your calls, set up call forwarding, and view and even reply to text messages. And more often than not, all of this is done without the device owner’s awareness.

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How to protect your smartphone from Bluetooth hacking

samsung galaxy a23 quick settings

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Be aware of random pairing requests

It is difficult to know if your device has been hacked using Bluetooth because hackers design attacks to make them unrecognizable. A telltale sign of Bluetooth hacking is if you’re suddenly flooded with spam messages, which likely include malicious files and links. You should also be aware of random Bluetooth pairing requests.

Check the PIN code before establishing a Bluetooth connection

When you set up a Bluetooth connection, the device displays a four- or six-digit PIN code to confirm device pairing. Before making the connection, don’t forget to check and ensure that the PIN is the same on both devices.

Make your device undetectable

Ideally, you should disable Bluetooth when you’re out and about, especially in crowded public places where your device is most vulnerable to wireless attacks. Use the Quick Settings menu on your Android smartphone to turn off the feature when you’re not using it. Unfortunately, you may not be able to disable Bluetooth if you are using any accessories. Many people keep Bluetooth enabled on their smartphones to allow easy pairing and continuous connectivity with wireless headphones, smartwatches, fitness trackers and other devices.

However, you can avoid new and unwanted Bluetooth connections by making your device “undiscoverable”. On your Android smartphone, go to Settings > Bluetoothtap on the icon with three vertical dots on the top right and open Advanced settings. Turn off Visible to other devices setting. The steps may be slightly different depending on your phone. But the idea is to disable the device’s discovery or visibility.

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Do not share files in public spaces

google pixel 7 quick settings

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you use Bluetooth to share files, documents, and links, it’s best to avoid sharing personal information using a Bluetooth connection. Don’t share files while in a public space. It’s also better to pair new devices at home or in a private place, not when you’re out and about.

Install security updates

Your Bluetooth device may be vulnerable to hacks if you do not install the latest security updates. Make sure you download and install security updates on your phone as soon as possible. OEMs use security patches to fix bugs or critical security flaws that can leave your device vulnerable to Bluetooth hacking attacks.

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