Applied Science / Information Technology Essay

Types of Bluetooth Attacks

Types of Bluetooth Attacks.

When someone mentions hacking, people usually think in terms of computers or laptops. Although, both used to be the only devices prone to attacks several years ago. Only a few know that smartphones too can be hacked by different types of Bluetooth attacks. Because, in recent years, smartphones have also become victims of hacking.

Since they are like pocket computers that perform some tasks computers do such as sending & receiving emails, making financial transactions, downloading heavy movies and the likes, smartphones are now a target for hackers. Hackers hack smartphones for a number of reasons which are:

• To access victim's personal information for blackmail;

• To steal funds;

• To eavesdrop on calls;

• To infect the device with malware just for the fun of it;

They do these through wireless technology called Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a free frequency that uses Centrino chips and operates on radio waves with a band set at 2.4GHz. The advantages of Bluetooth are numerous.

One of the most important uses of Bluetooth is connecting two different devices without the stress of wires or cables. We can share files, make calls safely while driving thanks to a Bluetooth device like a headset. Devices with adapter or built-in receiving and transmitting antennas can connect.

Imagine a life without Bluetooth, that would mean an inability to share files with another device, stream music wherever you are, miss important calls because you're driving, no wireless gaming, inability to open doors when you forget the keys inside. Life becomes stressful, boring and too manual-based.

Risk Involved In Using Bluetooth

Just like any other communication method, Bluetooth isn't totally free from risk although it's still very much secured. Hackers can still attack any smartphone through different methods.

If your device uses an outdated version of Bluetooth such as Bluetooth 1 and Bluetooth 2, then it's very prone to attacks. These versions are not only outdated but also have a lot of security imbalances hackers use to their advantage. The current and most secure version is Bluetooth 5.

Types of Bluetooth Attacks

1. Bluejacking: is a kind of attack that involves exploiting Bluetooth electronic business card feature using it as a kind of message carrier. Through this, the hacker sends offensive messages to any available device within the area of discovery.

The attacker would have to be within 10 meters of the device to be hacked. Bluejacking isn't a serious Bluetooth attack since your data is neither in danger of being extracted nor used.

But you can avoid bluejacking if you make sure your phone is on non-discoverable or invisible mode. You can also disconnect immediately you're done using the Bluetooth.

2. Bluebugging: Usually associated with older phones, blue bugging is a Bluetooth attack centered on manipulating and using commands of a device with the owner none the wiser.

Hackers “blue bug” to connect to the internet, eavesdrop on phone calls, send & receive text messages or even go as far as to place calls.

3. Bluesnarfing: This type of Bluetooth attack is the most dangerous. Even if the Bluetooth on your smartphone is on invisible mode, it can still get attacked through bluesnarfing though it's less likely since the invisible mode makes it more difficult for attackers to figure out the name and model of your device.

Hackers use bluesnarfing when they want access to your data. Such data can include International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to route a person's incoming calls to their cellphones, bank details, calendar information or addresses.

The safest prevention of this is to regularly update your device software and ensure your Bluetooth is on non-discoverable mode when in use. In addition, switch it off immediately after use.

4. Denial of Service: This is the easiest Bluetooth attack hackers perform. It's actually more of a nuisance than attack in the real sense. A DOS is a type of Bluetooth attack involving a hacker pairing his Bluetooth device to another device.

Usually, the damage is minimal because the data of the victim is in no jeopardy, not copied nor transferred. You can easily guess who is attacking you with DOS since it requires the hacker to be in close proximity to the victim.

5. Blueborne: Ever have an issue with a malware overtaking your phone suddenly? That would be a blueborne attack. Hackers use it to take control of a device infecting it with malicious malware.

It's something akin to an airborne virus. Any Bluetooth device that comes into contact or connects with an already infected device will also be affected. Blueborne attacks are possible on devices without VPNs and outdated software.

If your device isn't up to date and you are fond of leaving your Bluetooth on even when it's not in use, then you're making your smartphone vulnerable to blueborne attack or all types of Bluetooth attacks.

6. Car Whisperer: When someone buys a new car, manufacturers or dealers usually advise such person to change the manufacturer's pin on the Bluetooth-enabled entertainment system in their car to avoid Bluetooth attacks like Car whisperer.

A car whisperer attack enables hackers to send and receive audio through a car's sound system. The purpose of changing the manufacturer's pin is to fortify a car's entertainment system against such an attack.

7. App Attack: Some apps make use of Bluetooth on smartphones without the user's knowledge. Manufacturers of these apps want your data as well as track your location for their benefit.

The apps don't have to necessarily be unauthorized. They can be legitimate apps like YouTube and Facebook too.

8. Location Tracking: Fitness enthusiasts are usually prone to this kind of Bluetooth attack because they are always connected to their Bluetooth since they have to keep track of whatever fitness progress they make. Hackers who are interested in knowing their current location hack their devices.

Conclusion

As long as you keep your software updated, reduce the permissions you grant to apps, put your Bluetooth on invisible mode when in use, turn it off immediately after use, you'll be safe from all types of Bluetooth attacks. In additionTypes of Bluetooth Attacks, you have to be mindful of the devices you pair to. Some devices are not safe for pairing.

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