Can Bluetooth Be Hacked?

Avoid using Bluetooth outside of the home or office.
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A phone's Bluetooth connection is hackable, and presents a real threat for mobile devices on the go. Bluetooth devices can control every aspect of your phone: they can transfer files, make calls, send texts, and display device information. If your device is left unprotected, Bluetooth hackers could exploit the power of a Bluetooth connection to gain access to data and even make money off of your account.

1 How Bluetooth Hacking Works

Bluetooth hackers set up specialized hardware and software that searches for vulnerable devices with an active Bluetooth connection. This usually happens in busy areas where commuters or consumers congregate. Your device, if hacked, will give no warning or indication that someone has accessed the information. All hacking must take place within 10 meters of the device being hacked; once the device is out of range, the connection is lost.

2 Types of Bluetooth Hacking

Bluetooth hacking comes in two major varieties: "bluesnarfing" and "bluebugging." Bluesnarfing is when hackers connect to your device via Bluetooth and access the information on it. Many hackers quickly download the data so that they still have it, even if the device goes out of range. Bluebugging allows hackers to make calls, send text messages and access the Internet via the connection, in addition to accessing the personal information on your phone.

3 Dangers of Bluetooth Hacking

Bluetooth hackers can can use your phone's Bluetooth connection to make phone-based payments or call pay-per-minute numbers. These charges appear on your phone bill at the end of the month. Even if the phone is not used to steal your money, hackers can download your texts, photos and other vital files. This identifying information can be used as blackmail or for identity theft.

4 Protecting Your Phone

The best protection against Bluetooth hacking is to turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it, especially in busy areas where hackers may search for devices. If you must leave Bluetooth on, make sure that the device is not set as discoverable; many phones only allow the device to be discoverable for a brief period of time. Do not initiate new pairing requests in busy areas. Never accept pairing requests that come up at random.

Ashley Poland has been writing since 2009. She has worked with local online businesses, supplying print and web content, and pursues an active interest in the computer, technology and gaming industries. In addition to content writing, Poland is also a fiction writer. She studied creative writing at Kansas State University.