Four Reasons You Turn Off Your Bluetooth

Aug 26, 201924

Bluetooth, a technology present in cell phones, computers and other electronics, makes file sharing easier, but experts say it may be safer to keep it turned off. The technology was the target of a flurry of criticism at Def Con, the world's largest hacker conference, held in Las Vegas from August 8-11. During the four days of the event, security companies uncovered several failures in the feature and encouraged the abandonment of this type of wireless connection. Here are four reasons to always turn Bluetooth off.

 

1. Encryption Vulnerability

 

One of the Bluetooth failures revealed in Def Com allows a hacker to weaken the encryption of the connection between two devices to make it easier to crack the password. The attack is called "Key Negotiation Of Bluetooth" (KNOB). It consists in interfering with the connection process at the exact moment that the devices define the type of cryptographic key that will be used. A technology vulnerability allows the hacker to set up a shorter sequence, reducing the effort required to discover code later.

 

But experts say such an attack is hard to come by because the hacker needs to be very close and has little time to apply the commands. In addition, devices that use Bluetooth Low Energy, such as smartwatches, are protected from risk. The same goes for products with factory settings. However, it is not possible to know exactly which electronics are vulnerable or not.

 

2. Risk of Sonic Attack

 

A new bug allows a hacker to hijack Bluetooth speakers to emit a kind of sonic attack, with very loud and loud noises. Security expert Matt Wixey has found that it is possible to control stereos using a special virus that exploits known vulnerabilities in technology.

 

By approaching vulnerable boxes, the hacker can initiate the attack by ordering the emission of dangerous noises that annoy and disorient people around. If kept for long periods, noises can permanently damage the hearing of victims.

 

3. Hackers can find out phone

 

Another Bluetooth glitch directly affects iPhone users. According to a July discovery by security firm Hexway, Apple's mobile phone may leak some user information when the connection is activated, including the mobile number. Data is not exposed in clear text to anyone, but a hacker may be able to crack the scrambled codes and get a victim's phone nearby. In addition, basic device data may be leaked, such as the remaining battery, the name the user gave the device, if a Wi-Fi network is connected, and the operating system version.

 

4. Stores may know your location

 

A report in The New York Times published in June found that US business owners use Bluetooth receivers in stores to know when a consumer is at the store - simply by turning on smartphone connectivity. This is because Bluetooth is much more accurate at determining a device's location as long as it is within range of the signal - while GPS points the position of the device to within 5 meters, Bluetooth has a margin of error of inches.

 

The feature is used to send consumer targeted advertising. However, the paper points out that the problem can be much more serious than that: the more Bluetooth receivers are scattered around the city, companies can get a full report on user habits, including spending estimates and even the motivation to make certain purchases. .


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