Bluetooth is a widely used, convenient technology included on just about every smartphone, tablet, and laptop computer these days. You can use it to share files, play media and more with only a wireless connection. But just like with unsecured Wi-Fi networks, hackers can target your Bluetooth-enabled devices to steal personal data, install malware or spam you with messages.

How Can Hackers Hack through Your Bluetooth? 

Bluejacking is a spam messaging technique where the hacker sends text messages to Bluetooth-enabled devices in their vicinity. The hacker needs to be close to the target to pair their device with the victim’s and send text messages or images to them. These messages can be simple spam or phishing messages attempting to trick the target into providing personal data or downloading malware on their device.

Then there’s bluebugging, a technique that connects to a Bluetooth-enabled device to install backdoor access or malware to the device. The hacker can then make calls or listen in on calls, read and send messages and access contacts.

One of the most dangerous types of Bluetooth attacks is called Bluesnarfing. It can be used to copy content stored on your device, from messages and photos to call logs and passwords. The data obtained can be used to access your accounts or commit identity theft.

How to Help Protect Yourself from Bluetooth Hacking

Luckily there are some commonsense ways to beef up Bluetooth security and help protect your devices:

  • Turn off Bluetooth connection when you’re not using it. Keeping it active means your device can be discoverable by hackers when you’re out in public.
  • Unpair your Bluetooth devices from wireless devices you don’t use frequently, including speakers, cars and other technology.
  • Keep Bluetooth in “hidden” mode instead of “discoverable” mode, preventing other devices from identifying your device.
  • Don’t click links in unsolicited text messages from unknown sources.
  • Don’t accept Bluetooth pairing requests from devices you don’t recognize.
  • Regularly update your devices to help protect yourself from the latest vulnerabilities.
  • Enable security features like two-factor authentication and password protection.

No matter how vigilant you are about cybersecurity, there’s no way to be 100% safe from data breaches, hacks and identity theft. For this reason, it’s essential to monitor your identity and credit to ensure that the activity is legitimate, accurate and not a type of identity theft scam.