Hacking Bluetooth Devices: Bluebugging, Bluesnarfing, and Bluejacking
July 3, 2014
Phoenix TS Intern
Almost everyone today has a smartphone and one of the features that comes standard is Bluetooth capability. Since your device has Bluetooth capabilities, it also has the capability to be hacked.
If your smartphone is hacked via Bluetooth connection, you are potentially at risk of losing your phone’s data, pictures, videos, messages, contacts, and other information compromised. Today if you own a smartphone, you are walking around with a small computer in your pocket.
Don’t you think it would be beneficial to understand how Bluetooth works, how hackers use it to steal aspects of your personal life, and ways you can prevent hackers?
What is Bluetooth Technology?
Bluetooth is peer-to-peer based network technology. Due to this, the technology lacks management over security issues. This could eventually cause you grief. The fact that this technology is now standard on many electronic devices, from speakers to smartphones, paired with the lack of security functions, makes Bluetooth an easy entrance point for hackers.
Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) students and Licensed Penetration Testers (LPTs) should develop a solid understanding of these common methods for hacking bluetooth technology. If malicious hackers can find a way to infiltrate company networks via bluetooth, ethical hackers should know how to as well in order to prevent such vulnerable entry points.
It is fairly simple for hackers to find a way onto your phone. Hackers can the technology to gain access to your device. Proportionally, it is just as simple to arm your smartphone against hackers. Here are three popular methods hackers use to gain access into your smartphone and preventative tips to help you stop hackers.
Bluejacking is probably the most common form of Bluetooth hacking. This happens when a hacker searches for discoverable devices in the area and then sends spam in the form of text messages to the devices. This form of hacking is rather childish and harmless.
It was once used mainly to prank people in the past when mobile devices came with Bluetooth that was automatically set to discoverable. Bluejacking is used today for spam messaging and the hackers who use this do it just to frustrate others. The method does not give hackers access to your phone or the information on it.
The best way to deal with Bluejacking is to ignore the messages if you receive them. If you keep your Bluetooth settings to “invisible” or “non-discoverable” you are not likely to receive these messages. Also, keeping your smartphone or device set to “invisible” while you are in a busy or open Wi-Fi area. This will prevent Bluejacking and the next two popular forms of hacks.
This form of hack is more serious then Bluejacking and can leave open some of the private information stored on your smartphone. This is made possible through software. A hacker may purchase software that allows them to request information from your device. Even though this form of hacking is capable of happening while your device is set to “invisible” or ” non-discoverable”, it is unlikely to happen due to the time, effort, and money needed to complete it. The information stolen may seem important to you, but it might not be as precious as banking information. That data can be accessed by hacking your device through Bluebugging.
If a hacker Bluebugs your phone, they gain total access and control of your device. This makes it capable for them to access all info including photos, apps., contacts, etc. Bluebugging can happen when your device is left in the discoverable state. From here hackers gain access to your phone at the same point they do when performing Bluejacks. This is a much harder form of hacking than Bluesnarfing and Bluejacking.
Although this is only feasible on older phones with outdated firmware. Newer smartphones and their owners are less likely to have this happen to them because of the constant updates mobile operating systems perform.
Prevent Bluetooth Hacks
As I previously mentioned, making sure that you have your smartphone or other Bluetooth capable device set to “invisible” makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to data. Also, staying away from open Wi-Fi networks in busy or untrustworthy locations minimizes the risk of falling victim to hackers.
There are several different ways you can go about arming your phones against a hacker’s pursuit to abduct your wireless devices. I listed the most basic, yet effective ways of doing so. The NSA posted a report on Bluetooth hacking which explains steps you can make to secure your information and devices. This additional blog post also gives you a list of the top 10 daily threats to your personal security.
Hackers most likely won’t bother trying to gain access to your iPhone’s photo album to see what you might post to Instagram later in the week, unless you happen to be a celebrity or politician running for office. So turn your Bluetooth off and relax.
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