Wednesday, March 01, 2023

What People Need to Know About Bluesnarfing

 Feb. 28, 2023

Seniors Guide 


Bluesnarfing is a wireless hacking technique in which a cyber-attacker illegally accesses a Bluetooth-enabled device (such as a phone, tablet, or laptop) without your permission. From their own laptop, the hacker can then gain access to your calendar, contact list, messages, photos, passwords, and other data without ever touching your device. They can even change settings and install malware, which could result in ID theft or fraud.  


If you are in public (for example, using your phone in a doctor’s office waiting room) and have Bluetooth turned on in your device settings (as most of us do), a cyber attacker within range of your network – around 30 feet – may be able to illegally access your phone.


 How can I protect myself against Bluesnarfing?

    Check your default Bluetooth settings. When you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off, or make it non-discoverable or hidden.
    Do not leave Bluetooth-enabled devices unattended. For example, if you were to leave a Bluetooth-enabled phone or tablet in your vehicle while you run into a store, a hacker in a nearby car could access your unprotected network.
    Never accept Bluetooth pairing requests from devices you do not recognize. If you are pairing a new device for the first time, do it at home, not in public.
    Keep your confidential and personal data such as financial documents or password lists safe in a device that does not use Bluetooth, such as your desktop computer at home.
    Always be sure that your mobile device has the latest update, as these updates tend to address security weaknesses and offer new protections in the form of software updates.
    Use a PIN to lock your device when not in use and always use strong passwords (a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.) If you have a difficult time remembering passwords, consider using an encrypted password manager such as LastPass to store your data.

Thanks to upgraded security features and built-in authentication in newer Bluetooth devices, Bluesnarfing attacks are on the decline. Keep in mind that if you have an older device, it may have a higher vulnerability, since it doesn’t have the benefit of newer security. 

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