Can it be dangerous to use Bluetooth?Posted on 4th August 2021
Bluetooth devices surround you – smart home devices, speakers, headphones, fitness trackers all utilize this connectivity system. Your information is shared by them with the web and one another. Where there is information, there will always be hackers who wait to steal it. Let’s figure out whether Bluetooth is unsafe or not.
The most usual Bluetooth hacks
As long as Bluetooth connections were around, the hackers found many methods to abuse it. You must know a few Bluetooth vulnerabilities that are usually present in the following Bluetooth attacks’ types:
- Bluejacking. These are the attacks during which the hacker utilizes the Bluetooth connection in order to get to the phone and then send the anonymous messages to another nearby tool. Hackers might also utilize to make expensive and international pay-per-minute calls and then get your money.
- Bluesnarfing. This is the attack when the hacker steals data on the phone, including your phone book, videos, photos, texts, emails, and calendars, through Bluetooth. The hacker just needs to download all this data fairly fast when you are within range.
- Bluebugging. This is the worst attack that lets the hacker fully control your tool. It provides them with the opportunity to access all information that is stored on your tool and listen in on the calls.
- Car whisperer. Have you known that the hackers might listen to the hands-free conversations and directly talk to the people in the car, with Bluetooth antenna and laptop? Suppose you do not modify the Bluetooth PIN codes in the car; the hackers might utilize the car’s 1234 PIN code or default 0000 to spy.
- Location tracking. The hackers might intercept the Bluetooth-connected tools to find the location where you are. To tell the truth, fitness wearables are prone massively to location tracking attacks because they might provide a continual movements’ live-stream to the hacker.
- BlueBorne attacks. Here a hacker might gain control of your tool by infecting it with some malware. It will then be spread to any tool connected to it. If the software you have is outdated, you might be more at risk.
If the hacker succeeds in getting into the smartphone, they might get tons of sensitive data about you. This might later be utilized in a social engineering attack to hack into the bank or blackmail you.
Nevertheless, the hardest part concerning Bluetooth attacks is that the new methods the connection might be exploited are found by researchers every year.
It reveals the location where you are
Hackers might utilize Bluetooth to track the location. In order to do it, they just need 2 things: the unique device identifier and the tool that constantly utilizes Bluetooth connections. How does it operate?
Two tools that connect over Bluetooth recognize one another by exchanging the pieces of data that you might be thinking of as similar to the tool address. The vast majority of tools modify them regularly, such as if the batteries are possible to be drained or if the connection might be re-established.
Nevertheless, security researchers noticed that some tools, regardless of what might happen, keep the same address. Hackers might utilize this number as an original device identifier.
What is more, such tools transmit this signal constantly in order to remain connected to the phone and give real-time and accurate results.
Bluetooth encryption might be easily broken
Security researchers also have recently found the hacking technique which weakens Bluetooth encryptions and simplifies the cracking process. Two tools that are connecting over Bluetooth need to be exchanging the cryptographic keys in order to establish a secure connection. Nevertheless, not all tools backup secure and long encryption keys. Thus, they need to “communicate” with one another to decide on the length of the key.
In KNOB (Key Negotiation of Bluetooth) attack, the hackers intercept the process. They might be making one of the tools offer to utilize the weak encryption keys that might be 1 byte short. When the connection is completely established, the hacker might utilize common brute force attacks in order to break the encryptions and begin to watch the traffic that is exchanged between your tools.
It might cause a DOS (denial of service)
The hackers might also utilize Bluetooth to cause the DOS. They might crash your tool, block the smartphone from making or receiving calls, or drain the battery. Although it may not assist them in stealing your information, it might cause confusion or just be very irritating.
Your applications might utilize it maliciously as well
Applications on the phone may also be secretly utilizing the Bluetooth connection to harvest information and track the location. A new iOS 13 was created to notify the applications’ users that compromise the privacy, and exactly did that. It was picked up on Youtube and Facebook abusing Bluetooth users.
How safe is Bluetooth?
If Bluetooth features so many vulnerabilities, why should we still utilize it? Mostly, as long as Bluetooth hacking is not a usual thing in real life. What are the reasons why it is so?
- To exploit the Bluetooth connection, the hacker needs to be close to the Bluetooth device. They also need to be getting the results before stepping out of your vicinity.
- Security researchers found Bluetooth hacking to be complicated. It means that it is impossible for every hacker to perform. Bluetooth attacks suppose proficiency in technical knowledge and the resources like special equipment and money. Thus, it will be faster and easier for the hacker to break the window than the smart door lock.
- The results may not be fruitful. Of course, if the hacker gets to the phone, they might be getting a lot of data about you. Nevertheless, sniffing your traffic between the wireless speakers and your Spotify – not really so much.
It is safe to claim that you would not want the Bluetooth on at the DEFCON, which is the huge hacking conference in the whole world. However, utilizing Bluetooth regularly might not generally be normal.
Nevertheless, that does not mean that you must not do your best for your protection. Therefore, use the following easy steps to make sure you have a secure Bluetooth connection.
How to make Bluetooth safer?
- If you do not utilize it, then turn it off. Do not utilize it in public places.
- Avoid accepting pairing requests from unknown parties.
- Update the firmware as regularly as you can. If not, modify your tools every few years.
- Before you buy a new tool, do your research. Identify which security measures were added by the manufacturer to secure the tool and what their security reputation is.
Does the VPN protect Bluetooth?
No, it does not completely. The VPN will not protect you completely against Bluetooth vulnerabilities. However, this is the most inexpensive method to be protected online. The VPN will secure you if you are connected to the public Wi-Fi, utilizing encryption in order to stop the snooping of malicious or ISP’s actors in the network from stealing your information. Just think about utilizing a VPN, especially if you tether to the friend’s hotspot through Bluetooth. The mobile service might be monitoring your connection and might possibly be slowing it down.