TYPES OF BLUETOOTH ATTACKS AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF WHEN USING IT
BlueSmacking is a method of launching a DoS attack on a Bluetooth-enabled device. You might be wondering what a Denial of Service assault is. It occurs when a target, such as a server or a device, receives far more or bigger data packets than it can process. The target becomes overburdened and shuts down. Thankfully, regarding cyber-attacks in general. Denial of Service assaults is quite minor. It’s typically possible to recover from one by simply resetting the affected device. However, attackers can execute more severe cyber assaults by using the distraction or annoyance of a Denial of Service attack. As a result, DoS attacks should not be overlooked.
To be more technical, a BlueSmack attack sends an enormous data packet using the L2CAP layer of Bluetooth’s networking stack. I couldn’t complete a huge pizza in one sitting, and if I did, I’d definitely “shut down” on my sofa with stomach pain. The concepts of BlueSmack and Bluetooth are similar.
BlueJacking is named after the combination of Bluetooth and hijacking. When one Bluetooth device uses spam advertising to hijack another, this is known as BlueJacking. Bluetooth typically has a transmitting range of ten meters (30 feet). As a result, your BlueJacking assailant would likely be in the same room as you. Alternatively, an attacker may place a BlueJacking device on the street and use it to target your phone as you walk by. This assault, like BlueSmacking, is more of an irritation than anything else. Phone texts, on the other hand, can be used in phishing campaigns. Phishing occurs when an attacker impersonates a trusted business, such as your bank, phone provider, or Amazon, to trick the victim into clicking on a link or providing sensitive information. A message delivered by BlueJacking might include a link to a website that contains malware or collects sensitive data from its target.
There’s certainly a pattern in the names of these Bluetooth security threats. All of them have the term “Blue” in their titles and are Bluetooth-specific exploits. This makes things easier to comprehend. What exactly is BlueSnarfing? In some aspects, it’s comparable to BlueJacking, but it’s far more hazardous. A BlueJacking attack just transfers data. However, a BlueSnarfing assault can also steal data. Text messages, emails, images, and the unique identifying information that your phone or laptop uses with your cellular carrier or ISP are all examples of data that might be hazardous in the hands of cyber attackers. An attacker might gain access to enough information about your phone or laptop to carry out more damaging cyber assaults.
BlueBugging is an exploit that was created when it was discovered how simple it is to carry out BlueJacking and BlueSnarfing. BlueBugging creates a backdoor on a victim’s phone or laptop using Bluetooth. Backdoors are very risky because they allow a malevolent outsider to get access to your device and sensitive data from within. They can monitor your activities through the backdoor. They could even be able to impersonate you on social media or when you’re doing your online banking!
How to Protect Yourself When Using Bluetooth
With these security and privacy concerns in mind, understanding how to construct a secure Bluetooth environment is critical. Here are a few pointers to help you prevent any unpleasant Bluetooth surprises:
Patches and updates for security should be installed.
Make your Bluetooth gadget invisible to others.
Don’t send sensitive data via Bluetooth.
You should be cautious about who you connect with.
Turn off your Bluetooth.
Pairing gadgets in public is not a good idea.
As necessary, unpair devices.
Each of these suggestions will be examined in further depth further down.
1. Make sure you have the latest security patches and upgrades installed.
The easiest method to be safe is to keep your operating system up to date as soon as new patches are released. Following the discovery of the BlueBorne vulnerability, Google and Amazon, for example, have provided updated upgrades to safeguard consumers from similar attacks. As a result, the vulnerability was swiftly addressed. Even if they were unaware of the hazard, users were protected when they installed the current version.
Staying secure is as simple as keeping all of your applications and systems up to date.
2. Make your Bluetooth gadget inaccessible to others.
Hackers target Bluetooth devices that are close and discoverable in the most typical Bluetooth assaults. Set Bluetooth to “not discoverable” to make it more difficult for hackers to find your device. Depending on the device, you may accomplish this in a variety of ways.
On the iPhone, disable Bluetooth discovery.
The only time your iPhone’s Bluetooth is discoverable, according to Apple, is when the Settings > Bluetooth screen is enabled. Your device is no longer discoverable or accessible for new pairings after you quit Settings.
On a Macbook or an iMac, disable Bluetooth discovery.
Unlike iPhones, your Macbook or iMac allows you to adjust Bluetooth discoverability. Here’s how to do it:
Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
Select Sharing from the drop-down menu.
Uncheck the option for Bluetooth Sharing.
On Android, disable Bluetooth discovery.
Here’s how to conceal your Bluetooth device from others if you’re running Android:
Tap Menu > Settings > Bluetooth on your Home screen.
Select More connection options from the drop-down menu.
Turn off the option for Nearby scanning devices.
On Windows 10, disable Bluetooth discovery.
Do the following to keep your Windows 10 Bluetooth hidden from other devices:
To access Bluetooth & Other Devices, go to Start > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & Other Devices.
Select More Bluetooth options from the drop-down menu.
Untick the Allow Bluetooth devices to discover this PC box.
3. Don’t send sensitive data over Bluetooth.
Given Bluetooth’s relative susceptibility, it’s a good idea to avoid exchanging sensitive data over your wireless connection. If you need to share private images, passwords, login information, or other sensitive information, utilize a more secure method.
4. Be cautious about who you interact with on social media.
Accepting Bluetooth connection requests from unknown parties is a good way to keep your Bluetooth secure. Hackers may send out these requests in the hopes of gaining access to sensitive information. If you’re not sure who’s requesting to link their device with yours and why to refuse or ignore the request.
5. Use the Bluetooth and Minus Icon on your smartphone to turn off Bluetooth.
Although the ability of Bluetooth devices to automatically locate other devices is a beneficial feature, it also renders them vulnerable to assaults. It’s a good idea to keep Bluetooth off until you need it to conserve your phone’s power and better protect yourself from assaults. This is particularly true in public places such as airports, railway stations, and restaurants.
If you’re worried about forgetting to turn Bluetooth on and off, don’t be. That’s something for which there’s an app! If This Then, That and Tasker, for example, maybe set up to switch off your Bluetooth automatically when you leave an area or disconnect from a device. This will not only help keep your Bluetooth safe from hackers, but it will also provide your smartphone with a tiny increase in battery life.
6. Never couple up in public.
If you want to connect with a known device, consider pairing them for the first time in a safe area. Resist the urge to link your new Bluetooth headphones right away outside the store where you got them. Wait until you go back to your house or office.
You can better regulate the discoverability of your Bluetooth device with this technique since you won’t have to make your Bluetooth device discoverable after the first pairing to connect with your new headphones.
7. Make any necessary repairs.
Make it a practice to delete any old Bluetooth connections you don’t use or require. Your current pairings may be seen in your device’s Bluetooth settings. While most pairings are probably innocuous, such as the Airbnb speaker you linked to last year, keeping unused pairings on your device puts you at risk, even if the hazard is minor.
Is it possible to make Bluetooth secure with a VPN?
A common question we hear is if you can use a virtual private network (VPN) to make your Bluetooth secure. A VPN is one of the greatest methods to safeguard your overall internet security, but it won’t protect you from Bluetooth hackers directly.
VPNs, on the other hand, provide a slew of advantages. They protect you when using public Wi-Fi (for example, on the train or at a café), mask your true position, and encrypt the data you transfer over the internet. All of these methods protect you from prying eyes, cybercriminals, and snooping internet service providers.
When possible, we advise all of our readers to utilize a VPN. For more information, see our assessment of the best VPN services available right now. Keep in mind that a VPN will not protect you from Bluetooth-based assaults.
Is Antivirus Software Enough to Keep Bluetooth Secure
Another worry that security-conscious individuals frequently have is whether if an antivirus application will keep their Bluetooth safe. While an antivirus application is an important element of your online security, it will not prevent a cybercriminal from hijacking your Bluetooth. The antivirus, on the other hand, will protect you against malware that is frequently loaded as part of a Bluetooth attack.
UK Cyber Security Group Ltd is here to help
Please check out our Cyber Essentials Checklist
Please check out our Free Cyber Insurance
If you would like to know more, do get in touch as we are happy to answer any questions. Looking to improve your cybersecurity but not sure where to start? Begin by getting certified in Cyber Essentials, the UK government’s scheme that covers all the technical controls that will provide the protection that you need to help guard against criminal attacks. Or just get in touch by clicking contact us