Bluetooth is the technology that allows electronic devices to wirelessly connect to each other through a network. These devices include smartphones, tablets, portable speakers, digital assistants, wearable fitness trackers, home security equipment—the list goes on.
Bluetooth is everywhere. Over 3.5 billion Bluetooth connected devices were shipped in 2017. The technology is in our homes. It’s in our cars. We carry it with us every place we go. It’s been the standard for short distance data exchange for 20 years.
But, as of late, the wireless technology has come across a cyber threat that leaves almost every Bluetooth connected device open to attack. Below, we explain the cyber risk and offer tips on how you can secure your device.
What is BlueBorne?
In September 2017, researchers at Armis Labs discovered a new cyber attack called BlueBorne. Unlike traditional cyber attacks that require victims to click on a link or download a file, BlueBorne is spread through the air and allows hackers to access devices via Bluetooth.
When Bluetooth is activated, hackers take control of the device(s) and spread malware that goes completely unnoticed by the user. Additionally, once an infected device comes within range of other Bluetooth enabled systems, then the virus has the ability to spread from one user to another.
BlueBorne can affect almost any devices operating on Android, Windows, Linux and iOS software before version 10. This means almost every computer, mobile device, smart appliance or other IoT device running on the aforementioned operating systems could be hacked.
How Can You Prevent BlueBorne?
With an estimated 8.2 billion Bluetooth enabled devices worldwide, it’s imperative users take the following precautions to avoid a BlueBorne attack:
- Update all software and passwords. Following the discovery of BlueBorne, many device manufacturers released updates to eliminate some of the risk surrounding the virus. Update all devices and regularly change passwords.
- Turn Bluetooth services off when they’re not in use. Turning your Bluetooth setting to invisible makes it harder for hackers to discover your device, thus making it more difficult for them to steal your data.
- Never use public Wi-Fi networks. These connections are unsecure. We recommend you disable automatic connections to public networks to keep your device from connecting to an untrustworthy source without your knowledge.
- Consider a virtual protected network (VPN). VPNs are available for download in app stores and offer a more secure way to connect while on the go.
Cyber security should not be taken lightly. Work with a trusted security provider to properly equip your devices with the latest software for the best cyber protection.
How do you stay safe? Share in the comments below.