Guest article written by Andin Bicknell, a data science student at Georgetown University.
Since its introduction in the early 2000s, Bluetooth technology has been helping people to connect their devices and share data seamlessly. Wireless microphones and headphones, for example, facilitate the power of Bluetooth. But is Bluetooth technology safe?
Well, as you might be aware, Bluetooth connection and internet connections in their entirety have their vulnerabilities. This is particularly because data thieves are everywhere, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting smartphone users. Yet, engineers are constantly looking forward to ensuring the safest devices and programmes for their users, they have focused on java programming, as one of the safest coding languages that are less prone to hacking. Given its popularity, there are many companies that provide java programming services that would accommodate every request. However, in this post, we will focus on the potential risks posed by Bluetooth security and how you can mitigate these risks.
What are some data security risks of having Bluetooth?
This is where a hacker gains access to your Bluetooth-enabled phone and uses it to make unauthorised calls and send text messages without your knowledge.
This involves hackers using your phone to create a malicious phonebook contact and then using that contact to send harmful text messages to your phone. And because the contact is already trusted by your phone, the messages will be opened up automatically, stealing your data in the process.
It is very common these days for smartphone users to unknowingly download apps that contain malware and other damaging files. Sometimes you will simply mistype a URL and you end up in a phishing site or download an app that brings along harmful malware. These viruses can open up your Bluetooth and attack your shared files.
This happens when a hacker gains access to your smartphone by connecting to your network, then proceeds to copy personal data from your phone applications e.g. calendars, contacts, emails, and messages.
As mentioned above, the Bluetooth connection has been available to us for decades now. Even though the connection itself is very safe, hackers are still trying to find ways of decrypting the code and finding alternatives ways to hack devices. One of the best ways to remain safe and protect your data is to buy a VPN and install it on your device.
There are two factors that set new Bluetooth versions apart from older versions- pairing algorithm and encryption algorithm. Bluetooth versions from 4.0 to 5.0 use Elliptic Curve P-256 pairing algorithm and AES-CCM encryption algorithm. On the other hand, Bluetooth devices from versions 2.0 to 4.0 use Elliptic Curve P-192 and E1/SAFER+ pairing and encryption algorithm respectively.
Without getting into the technical side of this, it will be important to note that the pairing and encryption algorithms of versions 4.0 to 5.0 are more secure than those of older versions. It is extremely hard for a hacker to break into your network when you connect your device to a 4.0 Bluetooth version or an even newer version.
Passkey Entry is a pairing mechanism that makes the PIN pairing process between two devices complicated and hard to infiltrate. For a device to join another device’s Bluetooth network, a 6-digit PIN must be entered. 'Just Works' pairing mechanism, on the other hand, allows two devices to connect without needing a PIN. Although 'Just Works' is a faster pairing mechanism, it is more vulnerable to hacking.
When sending communication between two connected devices, it will be more secure to encrypt it first using AES encryption algorithm. The data has to be decrypted once it arrives at the other end, which means that a hacker will not be able to steal it during the transmission process.
By default, your device can be discovered by another Bluetooth-enabled device for as long as you’ve switched it on. It is important that you change the Bluetooth settings to undiscoverable and only make it discoverable when you need to connect to a trusted device.
When you pair devices at a public place, a hacker within a 50 meter radius can easily jump into the connection and tamper with your data. “Make sure to only connect to known devices, especially when you go to a planned event, since planned events give hackers plenty of time to organise and strategise data-stealing” suggest Ideko, an event production agency. Always ensure that you are at home, office, or an isolated place before switching on your Bluetooth.
If your smartphone contains any sensitive data, ensure that it is well secured in a password-protected file. Even if a hacker gains access to your phone via Bluetooth, he will have nothing of value to steal.
Once you have put all the measures above in place, don’t forget to buy a VPN to further protect your sensitive data. This is particularly important if you have embraced IoT and have multiple devices connected to your Bluetooth network. A VPN will hide your devices from spies and block any unauthorised access. Also, it is imperative that you do all your coding in Java programming because it is the hardest language to infiltrate.
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