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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How to Avoid Bluetooth Cyber Security Risks

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Thank goodness for Bluetooth and Bluetooth-connected devices. This technology allows you to share data between your devices including your smart home gadgets, your headphones, and your smartphone. The best part is you can eliminate some of those wires you use to connect your devices. Many of you connect to your devices with Bluetooth, but you need to understand there are some risks involved. With anything involving technology, cybercrooks will find a way to take advantage. With anything wireless, criminals can find ways to intercept the signal between your devices. Here's what you need to know:

Bluetooth works great when it comes to connecting your electronics through the Internet of Things (IoT). As beneficial as Bluetooth is, you need to understand it can potentially cause major security risks. All wireless technology is at risk of being hijacked, but one of the benefits of Bluetooth is that it only has a range of about 500 feet, which means if a criminal is going to attack your devices, they would have to be within range of your Bluetooth signal. Here are some of the methods crooks are using to get access to your personal information:

Car whispering. This is a Bluetooth security threat where criminals target your car radio and entertainment systems that have Bluetooth capabilities. Once they are logged into your system, crooks will listen in on phone calls and conversations. and phone calls that take place inside the car.

Bluebugging. This cyber threat allows cybercriminals to get access to your Bluetooth connections via backdoor access. Once in, crooks can peep in on you and access your private information for the purpose of impersonating you and stealing your identity.

Bluesmacking. When criminals attack your devices with bluesmacking, they send messages and information to your devices until your devices shut down making them unusable to you.

Bluejacking. Did you know your Bluetooth signal can be hijacked to be used to send out phishing and spam messages? Criminals can gain access to your Bluetooth to send out spam and phishing messages. Usually, when these attacks occur, criminals will send out messages that contain dangerous links that could direct you to websites will malware.

Bluesnarfing. When a Bluesnarfing attack occurs, crooks log into your devices via Bluetooth with the goal to steal information from your devices such as text messages, emails, photos, and more.

Can I Tell If My Bluetooth is hacked? Bluetooth attacks are designed to be discrete, so they are very difficult to identify. Here are some warning signs you can look for:

  • Bluetooth connections to an unknown device

  • Unauthorized login attempts to your online accounts

  • Increased data usage

  • Apps you don’t recognize

  • Slow performance

How to stay safe using Bluetooth. Bluetooth offers many benefits that make using your devices fun and connecting your Bluetooth-enabled devices is a simple process. However, you need to be aware of security risks involving Bluetooth and how to stay safe. Here's what you need to know.

Make sure your device can't be found using Bluetooth. One of the easiest ways to keep your devices safe is to turn off Bluetooth when you're not using it on your devices. Each of your devices has different instructions on how to turn it off, so here are some steps for every device:

Apple devices:

  1. Go to “Settings”

  2. Select “Bluetooth”

  3. Toggle the switch to turn it off

Mac devices:

  1. Go to “System Preferences”

  2. Click on “Sharing”

  3. Uncheck the “Bluetooth Sharing” box located on the left-hand menu

Android devices:

  1. Go to “Settings”

  2. Select “Bluetooth”

  3. Tap “My device”

  4. Toggle the visibility setting to “Not visible”

Windows devices:

  1. Click “Start”

  2. Go to “Settings”

  3. Select “Devices”

  4. Click on “Bluetooth & Other Devices”

  5. Turn “Bluetooth” on

  6. Choose “More Bluetooth Options”

  7. Uncheck the “Allow Bluetooth devices to find this PC” box

Don't share your sensitive information over Bluetooth. Avoid sharing your personal information over Bluetooth. If you happen to be in an area with a Bluetooth hacker, your chances of them intercepting your private information are lessened.

Don’t pair new devices in public. If you’re pairing devices for the first time, be sure to do so from a secure location. When you pair devices in public, it can allow hackers to hijack the process and connect to your device.

Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to stay safe when using Bluetooth technology. Following these security tips, you can use your Bluetooth devices without worrying about mobile threats. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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